In our lifetime, we’ll spend an average of about 150,000 hours at work. Work dominates and defines approximately 40% of our lives, but a recent survey shows that two thirds of all workers would prefer to change jobs! “What do people really get for all their hard work?” as the author in Ecclesiastes 3:9 above asks? What is God’s will for our work? The most obvious reason we work is to stay alive! This is the “survival level” of work. The best work for us is that which allows us to express who we are. Because God is more interested in who we are than in what we do, work is a place God grows our character. Our work demonstrates what we believe more than our words; the quality of our work may be our most powerful testimony. Our work also allows us to help others in need. We can use our work, skill, and business to further God’s kingdom.
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Genesis 2:15 (NIV)
1. Genesis 2:15 above indicates that work has always been part of God’s plan – even in paradise. The result of sin is that work is harder; the fall brought difficulty, drudgery, and disappointment. How do you think work was better originally?
Jesus: "My Father is always working, and so am I." John 5:17 (NLT)
2. What does John 5:17 above tell us about God, and what are the implications of this for us?
3. Since we’re called to work now (and we’ll also work in heaven), which of these six purposes for work seem most important to you: (1) Necessity: to meet my needs (2) Identity: to express my talents (3) Maturity: to develop my character (4) Credibility: to witness to others (5) Charity: to help others (6) Eternity: to further God’s kingdom.
“Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well.” 1 Peter 4:10 (CEV)
4. We have the option of wasting, spending, or investing our lives. When we’re working according to our S.H.A.P.E. (Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experience), we’ll tend to be more successful and satisfied, and more fruitful and fulfilled. What do you think “well” (the last word) means in 1 Peter 4:10 above?
“Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else.” Galatians 6:4 (NLT)
5. Galatians 6:4 above indicates that it’s OK to take pride in doing a job God made you good at – as long as you don’t compare yourself to others! Proverbs 12:27 (MSG) says, “A lazy life is an empty life.” In light of these verses, what are some examples of satisfaction you think work should provide?