I was raised a Wesleyan Methodist in NSW before witnessing the Uniting Church of Australia emerge as a young child in the 1970’s. I have had an Evangelical Christian Faith since the age of 11, and have played an active role in Church music ministries ever since. Thus I am also a product of the Protestant Work Ethic, having the following influential attitudes towards my work.
The Bible makes it clear that my work matters to God. No matter what my profession or occupation – God cares about my work. Here are ten key points about work drawn from the Bible. They have provided a practical foundation for how I have always approached my work.
- Work is part of God’s big picture (Lifelong Learning). God created all things and He has revealed that, in His sovereignty, He is progressing created order through a process of Creation, Fall and Redemption. God’s created order started with the perfect garden (Garden of Eden) and will be consummated in the perfect city (New Jerusalem). Therefore, we are always on a pilgrimage and never stop learning.
- Our actual work matters to God, now and eternally (Accountability). God has chosen to create men and women in His image to, among other things, work and tend this created order for His glory and for the betterment of humankind. In ways we can’t fully understand, the good work we do now, done with and for Him, will survive into the New Jerusalem. Work itself has intrinsic value.
- God provides us with unique skills, gifts and talents, and calls us to particular roles and activities (Using Gifts and Abilities). Although the roles might have apparent differences in importance, our callings are equal. They are a spiritual calling. There are no second-class callings from God. We will be worthy of this calling if we are devoted in our relationship with Him and look to Him only for leadership and strength.
- Quality, character, and ethics are foundational for our work. (Integrity) We are responsible not only for the quality of our work, but also for our faithfulness to God in the way we pursue that work, and for our own good character while working. We will be judged and rewarded accordingly. However, God is ultimately responsible for the outcome and impact of our work.
- Our work is yoked with Christ. (Respectful Relationships). We should work as if yoked to Jesus Christ. The “foundation of His throne is Righteousness and Justice, with Love and Faithfulness going before Him.” Our work, and the decisions we make, should be based on these principles: aligned with God’s moral standards, always concerned with the fair treatment of others and with a clear expression of Christ’s love for all people.
- Our work should be centred on service to others. (Service) From the products and services we provide, to providing fair financial rewards, and providing opportunities for others to exercise their gifts and talents. Our work is an opportunity to seek the peace and well being of our organisations, cities, and nations. Humility and gratitude should be the hallmark of our character. We should always acknowledge God in our work and consider that being an ambassador for Him is a weighty, but honoured, responsibility.
- A rhythm of work and rest is essential to life. (Work-Life Balance) God invites us into a deliberate pattern of regular rest. These periods of rest are intended to be restorative and are also opportunities to intentionally take time to consider Christ and our relationship with Him.
- The use of wealth and our investments should be directed by God. (Diligence) We should allow God to direct the use of all that He has provided through our work for the betterment of others and the furthering of His kingdom. These provisions include our gifts, time, financial capability and influence. This calls for diligence to all aspects of our work.
- God’s work multiplies through relationships and through the local church (Community): We need to be in relationship with other followers of Christ to provide support and accountability. We should look for mentors and look to mentor others. We should commit to our local church body and help to bring the world of work into the church and the church into the world of work.
- Work is a gift from God (Appreciation). We should always acknowledge that work is a gift from God, as is our ability to be happy in it. Alternatively, labor and achievement that spring from our envy of others is meaningless and will never bring contentment and joy. We look forward to the day when we will work together in perfect harmony in the presence of God.