In all labor there is profit; but mere talk leads only to poverty.
In our culture Labor Day marks the official end of summer. The tourist
season slows, women decide not to wear white any more, and football
season usually kicks off during the Labor Day weekend. It’s a time to
honor our working men and women and to focus on our work.
Statistics show that we spend 40% to 65% of our day doing something.
Whatever that something is will contribute to our success in life.
Often times, and for many people today, work has become a God. Workers
see their jobs as a necessary mentality. They work so they can have
what they want and do what they want. These folks worship what work
can do for them.
Some get lost in their “careers.” They believe climbing the ladder of
success will bring them the happiness they crave. So they spend 70 or
80 hours a week at their work. And what they don’t finish at work they
bring home to finish. In the process, everyone and everything else
gets neglected. They’re workaholics.
Some folks are just lazy at work. They work so they can have what they
want and do what they want as well, just like the workaholics. But
their mentality is different. They go to work, do their jobs (exerting
as little effort as possible), look for opportunities to get out of
work, surf the Internet, take long breaks, do personal work on company
time, watch the clock, and dash out the door at the end of the day. To
them work is a chore. A burden. A means to a paycheck.
But God didn’t create work to be a chore. God created work to bring
man contentment and Him glory. God placed Adam in a perfect work
environment. The first thing God said to Adam was, “Be fruitful and
multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and rule over the fish of
the sea, and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing
that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28. Work, Adam, work. Work is a
good thing. Proverbs 14:23 says, “In all labor there is profit, but
mere talk leads only to poverty.” Working God’s way brings us
blessings and God honor.
Work God’s way begins with humility. In Philippians 2:5-11 we read
about Christ’s humility when He came to earth, taught and ministered,
was crucified, resurrected and glorified. Our salvation is based
solely on the work Christ did for us on the cross. We are brand new
creations, we were made to be like Christ, we were all given a
purpose, and we were all equipped to do the work God gives us to do.
We have a responsibility to do the work God gave us. Philippians
2:11b-12 says, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for
it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good
pleasure.” God has placed in us all the tools we need to accomplish
His purpose for us. But, God does the work in us. We can not do the
work on our own. We need God’s salvation and His grace if we are to
work God’s way.
In Ephesians we discover where our salvation comes from. “For by grace
you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is
the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:8-11. Those verses don’t contradict each other. Grace
saved us. Period. Then God gave us talents and gifts to do the work He
prepared for us.
Colossians defines God’s work ethic. “Whatever you do, do your work
heartily as if unto the Lord.” V.3:23. In other words work with
intensity and focus. In whatever you do, whether you are an attorney,
a painter, a salesperson, a grocery clerk, or a stay-at-home mom work
at it with diligence and to the point of exhaustion. Whatever you do,
pour yourself into it as if the Lord were your supervisor and watching
you work. Would you work with discipline and focus? Or would you be
The Lord wants us to do what we need to do when we need to do it. That
is discipline. And if we neglect our work, if we don’t maintain that
intensity and diligence, we’ll feel a gravitational pull away from it.
The result will be slothfullness and laziness. Proverbs gives us a
vivid image of the one who neglects their work. “I passed by the field
of the sluggard and by the vineyard of the man lacking sense, and
behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles; its surface was
covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. When I saw,
I reflected upon it. I looked and received instruction. “A little
sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, then
your poverty will come as a robber and your want like an armed man.”
The key word in those verses is “little”. Sloth creeps in gradually.
The pull away is subtle. That’s exactly how Satan wants to destroy our
work. Soon we drift into laziness and sloth.
So, how do we work God’s way?
First, we work on our spiritual development. Developing our personal
relationship with Christ is crucial for us to develop God’s work
Second, we need to work at our God ordained relationships in our
marriage, our family and with our friends. Ask yourself,” What
relationships do I need to work on?”
Third, work on your personal development. We all have talents and
gifts we received from God to do work. Sometimes we develop an
attitude that we’re somehow “good enough,” that we’ve “made it” and
don’t need to work any more to improve our gifts and abilities. If we
don’t exercise our gifts they become useless. They resemble what
happens when someone breaks an arm. The inactivity over an extended
period causes the arm muscles to atrophy. If we don’t continue
exercising our gifts and talents, they’ll atrophy and become useless.
If we develop that attitude God can’t work in and through us as
Here are some tips for working God’s way:
1. Make a To Be list – Our work for God is not about what we do
but who we are. What kind of a husband do you want to be? What kind of
mother? What kind of teacher? What kind of wife? What kind of
musician? What kind of student? Write your “I want to be’s” down and
start working on ways to improve who you want to be.
2. Make a To Do List – Divide your tasks into three categories: A
– Things that are important, B – Things that need to get done, and C –
Things I can get around to. Don’t do the C’s first.
3. Memorize Philippians 4:13. And believe it.
4. Do first things first.
5. Tackle the most important and hardest things at the peak hours
of production in your day. A classmate of mine in 8th grade, Ted
Jenson, always wore short sleeve shirts on test days, even on the
coldest winter days. We lived in Iowa so we had lots of cold winter
days. Our teacher asked him why he wore short sleeved shirts on cold
days and Ted said it was because the body and brain perform better in
cold temperatures and at 10 o’clock in the morning. Ted was a genius
and finished college at 17, so we really couldn’t argue with him.
6. Work in blocks of time without interruption.
7. Ask a close friend whom you trust to hold you accountable to
stay on track with your work priorities, lists and work ethic.