What The Bible Says About Not Working

As Christians, our Biblical beliefs and values should be central to every area of life. Whether you work in ministry or serve as a corporate executive, the Bible should influence everything you do. Far too often, we separate our profession or career from our calling as followers of Christ. This is, in fact, completely opposite from the way we should view our work.

What does the Bible say about not working? The Bible clearly states the many benefits and purposes of work in a Christian’s life. Throughout Scripture, we find multiple references to laziness, sluggards, or people who are unwilling to work. In the Bible, idleness is a sin and does not glorify God. If you are able, it is your privilege and responsibility as a Christian to work in your field for the glory of God.

So, what can we learn about developing a Biblical view of work? How can our love for Christ permeate even the most mundane moments of our job? In this post, we will share the importance of work for Christians, and the many reasons God designed us with work in mind.

A Biblical View of The Importance of Work

In order to fully grasp the role of work in the life of a Christian, we must develop a Biblical understanding of work. With this perspective, we will be able to pursue our callings with abandon, knowing that we are accomplishing the task that God planned for us to do.

What Does The Bible Say About Working

The Bible has lots to say about the importance of work and the many benefits it provides to an individual. Here are a few things to keep in mind, regardless of the position or title that you hold.

Work As if God is Your Boss

Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

While many of us are blessed with bosses that we respect and admire, this isn’t true for everyone. Unfortunately, throughout our working career, we will come into contact with individuals whom we do not wish to impress. In these times, it is important to remember that you are ultimately working to bring glory to God. 

1 Corinthians 10:31 states, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This is an important truth to keep in mind, regardless of your current relationship with your boss. With your focus set on bringing glory to God, you will find the motivation you need to work with excellence even in the most mundane tasks.

Work Allows Us to Bless Others

There are many ways in which our work allows us to bless those around us. If you work in a workplace with other teammates, you are able to bless your company with your skills and abilities. This allows the company to flourish and allows you to bring glory to God.

However, there is perhaps a more important way in which work allows us to bless those around us. When we work, we receive financial compensation. In Ephesians 4:28 we read, “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” 

By working, we are able to bless those around us by sharing our resources. Whether this is your family or a stranger on the street, the ability to share your financial resources is one of the greatest blessings of work.

Work in The BibleWork is A Gift, Not a Punishment

The alarm goes off early Monday morning and you roll out of bed, wishing for a day before work existed. However, did you know there was no such thing?! Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” 

Even in Eden, even in paradise, man was given work to do. This may be hard to believe if you are in a job that you do not enjoy but God created work as a gift! By viewing our job as a gift from God, we can change our mindset from one of dread and loathing to one of joy and gratitude. 

The next time you are tempted to complain about your work, take a moment to thank God for the gift of work and the many blessings it provides.

You Should Work If You Have the Ability

In many places throughout Scripture, we find mentions of laziness and people unwilling to work. You see, this isn’t a problem that is new to our generation. As Christians, we are commanded to work if we have the ability to do so.

We learn more about this in 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 which reads, “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.” 

While there are circumstances that make it impossible to work in a traditional sense, each of us can find a way to contribute to society and make an impact for the glory of God. If you are incapable of working, find a way to use the skills you do have to bless others!

Work is Important, But So Is Rest

There is no question that the Bible places high importance on work. However, from the beginning of creation, we learn of the importance of rest! God places such importance on rest that in addition to modeling a day of rest during creation, He added it to the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 20:8-10, the fourth commandment, reads as follows: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.”

Even in the busiest of seasons, it is important to observe a day of rest. By doing so, we are able to refuel and relax, ready to work with passion in the week ahead. 

Working Allows You To Be a Good Steward of Your Time

As Christians, we are called to be good stewards of everything we have been given. Two of our most valuable resources are our money and our time. We have already discussed stewarding your finances, but what about stewarding your time? By working, you are spending the majority of your time on a productive task, working for the glory of God. 

People who do not work often waste large portions of their time with meaningless activities. Laziness or the poor stewarding of your time does not allow you to use your gifts and abilities for the glory of God. 

When You Retire, Continue Working For the Lord

Especially in America, we are taught to work for retirement. We all grow up fantasizing about what we will do when we no longer have to work. As Christians, however, we need to establish a Biblical perspective of retirement.

Although there comes a time when every individual is not physically or mentally capable of working in their lifelong career, there is always a way to use your giftings to bless others, even in retirement.

As you consider and plan for retirement, you must remain committed to placing Christ at the center of your life. Our job here on earth is not complete until God calls us home to Heaven. We must continue to work and serve in our giftings with purpose and joy. In doing so, we will continue to bring glory to God by stewarding our time wisely. 

Developing a Biblical Attitude Towards Work

Although some people are blessed to work in their dream position, others find themselves working in a position that they do not enjoy. Regardless of your job satisfaction or passion for your career, it is important that we strive to develop a Biblical attitude towards work.

Christians Should Be Willing to Work

A Christian’s willingness to work is demonstrated for us in Judges 5:2 which reads, “That the leaders took the lead in Israel, that the people offered themselves willingly, bless the Lord!” 

As Christians, we should find motivation and a willingness to work knowing that it is the very reason we were created! Whether you can see the impact your job is making in the world, or you struggle to find joy in your job, a willingness to work displays your gratitude for this gift.

Christians Must Be Humble in Work

In every area of life, we are called to follow the example of Christ. There is no greater example of a humble servant. Matthew 20:26-28 says, “It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

And 1 Corinthians 9:19 states, “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.” As Christians in the workplace, we should strive to emulate the servanthood and humility of Jesus Christ. 

This may not always provide us with the most glamorous positions or the recognition we feel we deserve, but by working with humility we bring glory to God.

Christians Should Work With Obedience

No matter your position within the workplace, we are all working under someone who is in charge of us. If you work for a large corporation, you are working under a supervisor. As a business owner, you are working under the government. It is your responsibility and duty as a Christian to work with obedience in all areas of business.

We see an example of earthly obedience in Colossians 3:22 which reads, “Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.” While this verse is clearly referencing the working relationship between servant and master, we can learn a valuable lesson.

By working in obedience and with diligence, we work as if unto the Lord. As Christians, you must never give your employer reason to doubt you or question your intentions within their business. Working with obedience allows you to set an example for those around you while bringing glory to God through your work.

Glorifying God in Every Profession

Growing up in Christian culture, it can be easy to slip into the mentality of some professions being more “holy” than others. Unfortunately, we have lost perspective on the fact that every job can bring glory to God. While some professions such as missionary or pastor may provide a more direct result, even menial tasks can point people towards God.

We each have unique callings and gifts. It is our responsibility as Christians to work in the career to which God calls us, having faith in knowing that He will use our work for His glory. By setting a Godly example in our workplace, we can establish relationships with others that draw them closer to Christ. By working in the home, you can educate your children with Biblical truths, empowering them to work for God’s glory as they mature. 

In whatever season you find yourself, remember that work is a gift from God. Whether it be in government, hospitality, education, medicine, law, or anything in between, it is your responsibility to use the gifts He has given you to bring Him glory and build His kingdom.

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