In Defense of Work

Work is good.

It is often toilsome, sometimes frustrating, and rarely without hiccups, but it is also good.

God created mankind to work. He gave Adam a garden to tend, and a Creation over which to exercise dominion. You know the rest of the story.

Adam sinned and God promised that Adam’s labor would become difficult. The earth produced thorns and thistles, and only by the sweat of his brow did Adam eat its fruits.

But work is still good.

When God gave His people the Ten Commandments, He said, “Six days you shall labor, and do all your work.” Often we skip those words, rushing directly for the prohibition that follows. But God commanded His people to work six days each week.

Why? Work is good.

Americans—Christians included—have grown accustomed to working five days a week. We also expect to retire sometime in our 60s in order to spend the rest of our lives doing nothing useful whatsoever.

“Six days you shall labor.” That command comes with no expiration date.

If you’re a Christian, work. Have a reason to get out of bed. It need not be full time employment. You can still “retire.” But work. Part-time. Volunteer. Make sure someone counts on you to be there. Do something.

When a person stops working some part of him withers, for men were created to work. Idleness lessens our humanity.

When we work, we image our God who worked. Our labor glorifies Him. Yet many people work only in order to retire. Their labor represents little more than a means to escape from work. But the Christian must labor as a means to glorify the Lord.

Paul commands in Colossians 3:23-24: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

All legitimate work is therefore dignified work. It is Christ-honoring work. It is spiritual work. It contributes to the Kingdom that cannot be shaken.

Work is good, so seek to glorify the Lord in your work.

And then enter your rest.

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