For Whom Do We Work?
Today is Labor Day, a federal holiday that celebrates the economic and social contributions that workers make to our society. We have today off to celebrate because we work! As we go about our duties during a regular business day, we encounter all types of challenges and perhaps meet all kinds of people. Our work may define us. Our work may sustain us. Our work may mold us. Our work may identify or label us. Our work may even consume us! It’s all up to us. Today, as we enjoy family and friends in a day of rest, I want to reflect on what God says about our work and how it relates to Him.
Remember that God worked when He created. He works today in the hearts of men. And He, being a jealous God, wants us to work for Him. Do you often consider who your employer truly is?
I did a search to find what the Bible says about work. I found 49 passages that refer to or imply how we should view God when we work. A few examples:
- Genesis 2 says the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
- Psalm 1 says the man who has delight in the law of the Lord is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season. In all that he does, he prospers.
- Psalm 128 says that we shall eat the fruit of the labor of our hands and be blessed, and be well.
- Proverbs 14 says there is profit in all work, but mere talk leads to poverty.
- 2 Thessalonians 3 says if anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat!
- 1 Timothy 5 says if anyone does not provide for his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
The Book of Colossians perhaps says best how we should view work, as work should be done to please our heavenly father, our ultimate employer. Paul instructed the early Christians in Colosse to view their work as work unto the Lord. Consider this instruction:
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.
20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.
21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
It is easy for me to understand these instructions and as I read them, I am taking a personal inventory on this Labor Day. What do these words mean?
Verse 18 – wives are not servants or slaves, but they are encouraged to submit to the authority God has given husbands and to work with him.
Verse 19 – husbands are to love their wives and better still, tell them! A husband is to protect and provide for his wife and family.
Verse 20 – children are to obey, honor and work with their parents. The best thank-you I ever received was when my son thanked me for teaching him how to work!
Verse 22 – we are not servants to masters, but we may be employees to employers. Submit to authority, obey the rules, get along with co-workers, smile at adversity, and give 100% to your job every day! Do work heartily, as unto the Lord.
As we enjoy Labor Day, remember to whom we give our labor. Remember that God created, He worked, to give us everything. Then He gave us the greatest gift we could ever receive – the gift of His Son. Remember that gift as today we enjoy family and friends, our earthy gift. And after today, let’s look forward to working the rest of the week! That’s because we work for Him.
Devotional message written by Jim Huber. Happy Labor Day!