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And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

Christian Work Ethic

By Louis Rushmore

Occasionally, one might pause while at work and ponder, "What am I doing here!" Certainly there are a lot of other places, doing a lot of other things, by which one might make a living. It may be that a person simply does not enjoy his or her livelihood and further may feel unable to alter the vocational circumstances at hand. Caution is warranted lest we are overpowered by exasperation, or even desperation. Further, there is a role which every Christian employee has toward our Lord which goes beyond the simple role of an employee.

It is not difficult to imagine that Joseph could have sometimes posed the question, "What am I doing here!" Would we have asked that question were we sold into slavery by our siblings? Would we have uttered that refrain again as a slave in Egypt, and maybe again while in an Egyptian prison? Joseph, however, excelled in the face of adversity and did not forget God. His work ethic under intolerable conditions (by our standards) was outstanding. Several other Bible characters demonstrated admirable work ethics under difficult circumstances--and did not forget God.

From a purely human perspective, one may be in a job where EVERYTHING is going right and the child of God still ponder, "What am I doing here?" Hard to imagine, perhaps, but it is possible. Moses was a child of God in such a situation. Essentially he asked himself this question and answered it by choosing not to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. In his case he opted to endure affliction with his people. Moses did not forget God.

Though slavery is not precisely parallel to the employee-employer relationship, there are some similarities, at least in principle, which contribute to molding a proper work ethic. Christian slaves were exhorted to serve as becoming of followers of Christ and to labor as though directly working for Jesus (Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3:22-24). In a sense, a slave was called upon to look beyond (1) the master, (2) the job, (3) and any temporal reward.

Like them, a Christian employee should focus his attention on Christ, do one's job as though employed by our Lord, and appreciate an eternal, spiritual reward offered by Jesus Christ above earthly remuneration. Above all, we must recognize Christianity as our primary vocation and view the way in which we earn our livings as our avocations. We must not forget God.

Sometimes the gratification for which we long from our jobs may not be forth coming. (Too much gratification from one's earthly vocation can overshadow Christian fidelity and service.) Still, we should reach for a degree of contentment in our occupations while making whatever we do for a living inferior to serving our Lord. We will be much happier if we accept what we are unable to change and concentrate on being the most faithful and useful child of God we possibly can be. There is much gratification possible, now and eternally, in this pursuit.

H. A. "Buster" Dobbs, email:
P. O. Box 690192
Houston, Texas 77269-0192
(281) 469-3540

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