At Work & Theology 101

What Does the Bible Say About Work?

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“…Remember that Paradise wasn’t a vacation—it was a vocation.”

—Stuart Briscoe, Choices for a Lifetime

God is a worker. From the very beginning of the Scriptures we are faced with the inescapable fact that work is part of God’s character and nature. As my friend Steve Garber of The Washington Institute likes to say, vocation is “integral, not incidental, to the mission of God.”

Eugene Peterson in his book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction writes,

The Bible begins with the announcement, ‘In the beginning God created…’ not ‘sat majestic in the heavens’. He created. He did something. He made something. He fashioned heaven and earth. The week of creation was a week of work.

Work in different forms is mentioned over 800 times in the Bible, more than all the terms used for worship, music, praise, and singing combined.  I often wonder how I could have ever thought that my work was not important to God.

But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. (Matthew 7:26

For years, I thought this passage applied only to my “spiritual life.”  I had completely segregated my spiritual life from my work life. In forty years at church, I had never heard what I now see so clearly in God’s word, that my work mattered to God.  I had never heard anything like the quote boldly written on the cover of Doug Sherman’s Your Work Matters to God,

But unless you can connect what you do all day with what you think God wants you to be doing, you will never find ultimate meaning in either your work or your relationship with God.

That is exactly where I was. I had not connected the dots regarding work in the Scripture and, as a result, saw no significant purpose for what I did most of the week.  In a large portion of my life, I was like the foolish man building a house on the shifting sand.

In future posts, we will help you connect the dots by looking specifically at five foundational ideas about work taught in the Scripture.  Understanding these five ideas will help us build a solid, Biblical view of work, vocation, and calling:

  1. The Four-Chapter Gospel
  2. The Cultural Mandate
  3. The Kingdom of God
  4. Common Grace
  5. The Biblical Meaning of Success

Question: Do you believe your work matters to God? If not, how did you get to that belief? What’s the difference between knowing your work matters to God and actually believing and living it out? Leave a comment.

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