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Christian work ethics

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Christian work ethics

2 Thess. 3:6-10

Some of the believers were doing nothing except standing around and talking. The Apostle Paul calls them ‘busybodies’ (2 Thess. 3:11). This situation had arisen because they thought that ‘the day of Christ is at hand’ (2 Thess. 2:2). Since, as they thought, Christ would soon return, why bother working?

The necessity of work

In stating the necessity of work for those who are able, the Apostle Paul did not just give his own opinion. He wrote by inspiration. Moreover, this attitude towards labour is reflected throughout the rest of the Bible. The word ‘work’ occurs hundreds of times in the Bible, referring to the action of God as well as man. It is clear from the interchangeable use of certain words to indicate both God’s activity and man’s that work is ordained by God. God has decided that we are to work!

Examples of work

The Bible includes many exhortations to work. Many of those commands are found in the Book of Proverbs where they frequently stand in antithesis to the sin of laziness.

In the Bible we also find many good examples of men and women working both hard and faithfully. Jacob was working for Laban, Ruth was working in the fields of Boaz, the rebuilders of Jerusalem’s walls were working, and the ideal wife of Proverbs 31 was working.

Work that is not to the glory of God

The Bible does, however, warn us against work, which glorifies the labourer rather than the Giver of gifts. This is a danger especially in the so-called ‘creative’ professions. Christian workers, missionaries, theologians, artists, writers and thinkers ought to remember that the fruit of their genius comes from God. It means that our work should never be for our own glory!

Example of the Apostle Paul

Although applicable to everyone, these verses (2 Thess. 3:7-9) are especially appropriate to all who, like the Apostle Paul, devote their entire lives and energies to the proclaiming the Word. If ever there was a man who gave of himself for His Saviour, it was Apostle Paul. In holding himself as an example, he was not boasting. Quite to the contrary, the Apostle was only showing that he, too, was in the Lord’s will.

He laboured ‘day and night.’ Such steady devotion to his work was not at all fanatical. It was not workaholism. God expects work, not workaholism from His children!

Dr. Czeslaw Bassara ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;

James N. Spurgeon wrote:

'A job is at your choice; a ministry is at Christ's call. In a job you expect to receive; in a ministry you expect to give. In a job you give something to get something; in a ministry you return something that has already been given to you. A job depends on your abilities; a ministry depends on your availability to God. A job done well brings you praise; a ministry done well brings honour to Christ.'

This ministry is to bring honour to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

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