The Greeks believed in a concept called dualism – the idea that the world contains both good and evil, reflected in the soul and body of man. Anything related to the soul was good, but anything related to the body was evil. For the Greek, only work associated with the soul mattered. We learned last week that this belief is wrong; God created us, before the Fall, to work. We are made in the image of God and are called to represent Him in this world. Missionary, parent, garbage collector, engineer, pastor, landscaper, secretary, teacher…all of these occupations are “full-time ministry” for those who follow Jesus.
23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24
How would you answer the question, “What do you do?” without naming your occupation or job title?
Read Colossians 3:23-24. Do you think Christians should be the hardest-working people around because of this passage?
Do you view all work as “spiritual”? Why or why not?
What is the “inheritance from the Lord” received as a reward for working with all your heart?
Read 1 Corinthians 10:31 and Colossians 3:17. Paul essentially repeats himself in these passages, saying that whatever you do, do it for God. What is your “whatever you do”? When is it more difficult for you during your “whatever you do” to remember that you are doing it for God?
What are the hardest aspects of your work? Imagine doing that least favorite part of your job for Jesus. How might it look different to “do everything for the glory of God”?
Because of the Fall, work can be toil…you can dread going to it each day. Or, you can work with joy knowing that what you do is worship to God. And sometimes, your work IS joy. Eric Liddell, whose story was told in the movie Chariots of Fire, explained to his sister why he chose to participate in the Olympics rather than immediately setting off for China as a missionary: “I believe God made me for a purpose – for China. But He also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” What do you do that you feel God has made you to do…something that when you do it, you “feel His pleasure”?
Aaron spoke about integrating your faith and your work. In some cases, not only is it difficult to do so, but some are prohibited to talk about faith. What are some ways you can integrate your faith and work in these instances?
Read through the following questions. Is this how you view your work? List specific ideas of ways you will view your work differently.
- Do I intentionally practice the fruit of the spirit at my job so my co-workers see Christ in my life?
- Do I do my work with diligence and an attitude of joy so that my co-workers and clients see that I pursue excellence?
- Do I eat lunch with my co-workers or invite them to my home for dinner?
- Am I a part of a work-place Bible study or prayer group?
- Do I see myself as a missionary in the workplace?
- Am I Christ-like in my relationships with co-workers and clients?
FOR FURTHER STUDY
From the following passages, list some of the ways you can show your faith to those with whom you work:
- Proverbs 3:27-28
- Ephesians 4:29
- Philippians 2:14-16
- Colossians 3:13
- Colossians 4:5-6
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Paul had much to say about work. Read the following passages; according to Paul, why is work valuable to God?
- Ephesians 4:28
- Thessalonians 4:9-12
- 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12
- 1 Timothy 5:8
- Titus 2:9-10