Why Are You Working?

           Sir Christopher Michael Wren was one of the most highly acclaimed architects in English history.  Following London’s great fire in 1666 he was given the responsibility for rebuilding 51 houses of worship.  His masterpiece was St. Paul’s Cathedral which was completed in 1710.

Legend has it that one day the famed architect visited the construction site of this magnificent edifice.  He was unrecognized by the workers so he walked around asking various men what they were doing.

The first worker replied, “I’m cutting a piece of stone.”

The second man responded, “I’m earning five shillings and two pence a day!”

The third laborer when asked, “What are you doing?”  Stepped back.  Looked up smiling and said, “Me?  I’m helping Sir. Christopher Wren build the world’s greatest cathedral to the glory of God.”

What a difference in the attitudes of the workers.   One saw it as just a job.  Another only as means to make a living.  But the third man had purpose in his work.  He was motivated to a higher calling.  Approached his work with dignity. Determination. And delight.

Today, in the United States, we celebrate Labor Day.  Ironically, it’s a holiday and many are off work!  It was first purposed by Peter J. McGuire to honor America’s work force.  The first Labor Day celebration was on September 5, 1882, in New York City.   Today there will be speeches. Parades.  Flags will fly.  And folks will bar-b-que.

Today’s workplace is much different than in the early days of our country, and even  than a few years ago.  In an environment where companies are downsizing, merging, and operating on smaller corporate profits, there is added pressure on the worker.  Deadlines, incompetent leadership and worker apathy leads to a lot of frustration in the workplace.  What is a person to do?  And more importantly what is a Christian to do?

The Bible provides practical principles to help us in regard to labor in today’s marketplace. In Col 3:22-24, Paul penned:

          “Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”  

While this was written to slaves, the principles apply to Christians in the employee-employer relationship.  Here are 4 simple guidelines to apply in your job or profession.

           (1) Obey your master.  That means your boss or supervisor.  Paul says in everything.  And not just when he is watching.  Or just to win his favor.  But we do it because it is the right thing to do.

          (2) Work sincerely. This word means with singleness, simplicity, and mental honesty.  It is the virtue of one who is free from pretense and hypocrisy.  And it makes no difference what kind of work you do.  Give it your best.  My Dad used to say, “Give a full day’s work for an honest day’s pay.  That’s working sincerely!

          (3) Labor cheerfully.  The word heartily means to “work from the soul.” It means with gusto or enthusiasm.  From the very seat of your feelings and emotions, God wants us to work. The Christian worker is not to be sullen.  Instead we are to be happy and cheerful. Enthusiastic and excited.

          (4) Serve Christ in your labor.  For Christians work takes on a new meaning.  You are not just serving an earthly employer, but a heavenly Master.  Your work has deeper purpose, greater potential and higher motives.  The way you work, the values you live by, and the attitudes you display honors God.

Your work has value.  Dignity.  Worth.  From the teacher to the janitor. From bank president to the teller.  From the CEO to factory worker.  God wants us to work.  And work in a way that glorifies Him.

Have a great Labor Day!  And thank God for the blessing of work! 

                            —Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

2 Comments

Filed under Work

2 responses to “Why Are You Working?

  1. Sandra Jo

    As a newcomer to your post, I enjoy them. Today’s is definitely appropriate. I would only add one thought: When ‘obeying our ‘master’ (boss, supervisor), we can be put in awkward situations where such obedience may be against God’s laws, and in that case we naturally follow what God would have us do. If our ‘master’ respects us, approaching in explanation to that person can be done without conflict. We must always shine!

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