The Christian View of Work

Terry Somerville


There has been some discussion recently about Christians and work. Though the bible has clear instruction on this matter, many arenít aware of it and are following other ideas. This is often true among those who feel the call of God. Satan will try to derail the callings on your life by a wrong approach to work. Letís hear what the bible says.

Biblical Overview - a Summary

Every able body Christian is to work. It is the means to provide a living, to look after their families and to bless others in need. Even women under sixty are to be homemakers or working. Some people may not be able to work for reason of infirmity (age, disability) or social crisis (famine).These people are the proper subjects of support by the church.

The majority of scriptures are about those who refuse to work. The church is commanded to rebuke them, and then have nothing to do with them in order to make them ashamed of their attitude. Sometimes a Christian is deceived and because he is wanting to enter into more ministry is only willing to have a "spiritual" job. But all our labor is to be unto the Lord! God says work is His will and He will bless it. Someday a ministry may become a full time means of living, BUT, If someone is waiting for this to happen and refusing to work, it is a sin. Instead, if they are faithful to the Lord in the basic matter of work then God will open doors of provision at the proper time.

The Biblical View of Work

The Purpose Of Work

  • To make a living - 2 Thess.3:12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living.
  • To provide for our household- Proverbs 31:27 She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.
  • To bless others Ephesians 4:28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need.
  • To Increase in wealth- Proverbs 13:11 Wealth hastily gotten will dwindle, but he who gathers little by little will increase it.
  • These ordinary looking reasons for working are Godís Commands! There is nothing super spiritual about it. It is just the Christian way to live!


The Sin Of Refusing to Work

  • Not providing For Your Family is Worse Than the Heathen -1 Timothy 5:8 If any one does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

  • It is Disobediant 2 Thess.3:10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat.11 For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work.12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living.
  • It Leads to Other Sins- 1 Timothy 5:13 Besides that, they learn to be idlers, gadding about from house to house, and not only idlers but gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.


The Curse on those Who Refuse to Work

  • Hunger- Proverbs 19:15 Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger . 2 Thess. 3:10 If any one will not work, let him not eat.
  • Forced Labor -Proverbs 12:24 The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor
  • Ruin-Ecclesiastes 10:18 Through sloth the roof sinks in, and through indolence the house leaks.
  • Destruction - Proverbs 18:9 He who is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.

The Folly of Covetousness

Some Christians refuse to work unless the job suits them. The bible never sanctions this attitude! It is just plain selfishness which is idolatry. It results in a curse, not a blessing.

  • It Ends in want Proverbs 28:22 A miserly man hastens after wealth, and does not know that want will come upon him.
  • It never satisfies - Ecclesiastes 5:10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money; nor he who loves wealth, with gain: this also is vanity.
  • This wealth evaporates - Proverbs 23:4 Do not toil to acquire wealth; be wise enough to desist. 5 When your eyes light upon it, it is gone; for suddenly it takes to itself wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.


The Churches Attitude To Those Who Refuse To Work

  • Admonish Them -1 Thessalonians 5:14 And we exhort you, brethren, admonish the idlers,
  • Change The Situation - 1 Timothy 5:13 Besides that, they learn to be idlers, gadding about from house to house, and not only idlers but gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. 14 So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, rule their households, and give the enemy no occasion to revile us.
  • Warn Them - 2 Thess. 3:14 If any one refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.15 Do not look on him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
  • Keep away from Them - 2 Thessalonians 3:6,7 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.


The Christian Attitude To Work

  • Work as unto the Lord -Colossians 3:23 Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men,

  • Ready and Willing - Titus 3:1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for any honest work,
  • Looking after ourselves - 1 Thessalonians 4:11 to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we charged you;

Want a job to fulfill you? That is serving a lie. Work is not there to please you. fulfillment comes in the Lord when you work as unto Him. Anything else is idolatry. Learn to draw your pleasure from Him.(He will make you clean toilets till you get it right)!

The Calling To Ministry

No job is "secular". All work is the Lords work because we are Christians. Sometimes a Christian feels called to the ministry and refuses to work because they are "seeking the ministry" or "being led by the Lord". But this is never found in the bible. It is false spirituality. Even the Apostles supported themselves by manual labor when situation demanded it. The church body did provide for its recognized leaders , but it was absolutely clear that a minister of the Lord should provide his own living if he was not being supported by the church.

  • Paul paid his own way to reach the Thesselonians. -2 Thess3:7 For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you,8 we did not eat any one's bread without paying, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you.9 It was not because we have not that right, but to give you in our conduct an example to imitate.
  • John calls on the church to support the ministers- 3 John 1:7 For they have set out for his sake and have accepted nothing from the heathen. 8 So we ought to support such men, that we may be fellow workers in the truth.


The Blessing On Work

  • Social Stature - Proverbs 22:29 Do you see a man skilful in his work? he will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.
  • Wealth - Proverbs 12:27 A slothful man will not catch his prey, but the diligent man will get precious wealth.
  • Success - Proverbs 16:3 Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.
  • Abundance To Bless Others - 2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work.