Working, not leisure, is the goal for Christians

Working, not leisure, is the goal for Christians

The great dream of many people is a life of leisure. It sounds good, doesn’t it? Sitting back, doing whatever you want (or nothing at all). If only we had enough money to spend our lives like that, most of us think that this would make us happy.

It’s not true. We are made to work. We see that in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. Each of the servants of the master were given a large amount of money and expected to deliver a return to the master. The expectation was to work. The one who chose not to use the money was called a “wicked and slothful” servant. Choosing not to use what God has given you to use is cause for great rebuke.

The rest of the Bible reinforces this. God made people to work before sin was in the world. Adam was tasked to name the animals and look after the world God made. The introduction of sin didn’t remove the need to work, but it did put work under a curse. Now it would be normal to feel the futility and pain of work. The reason we tend to feel negatively about work, whether paid or unpaid, is because this is the only type of work we are used to. We know what it feels like to work hard and not get a reward for the effort we put in. We understand the pain and frustration that go along with work in this world. That’s true in direct service in ministry as well as in a workplace or raising children.

Even when we are in the new creation, we will be working as people were in the Garden of Eden. In that day, work will have reward for effort, it will not be thwarted by thorns and problems, and it will bring real satisfaction. We’re not there yet, but one Day we will be.

Our work as Christians right now is about serving Jesus, not serving ourselves. That’s true if we are working for a boss, for we are ultimately working for Jesus (Eph 6:6). And it is true when we use the gifts we have been given for the greater good of God’s people (Rom 12:3-8). Each of us has been given a specific set of life circumstances and resources to serve God with in all kinds of ways; we are all called to work hard with what we have been given.

Remember that next time you get frustrated by your work. Work is a good gift from God and it is a privilege to be able to serve God with what you are doing. Thank God for work and pray for perseverance through its difficulties. Work is a gift from God and what we are called to do; living only for ourselves promises satisfaction but only brings self-absorption.