There are many different reasons why people go to work or find work. A common reason is people need to earn an income to financially support themselves. Everyone needs money to pay the bills, food and to save or spend on leisure. Parents of young children go to work so they can provide for themselves and their young ones.
Money is not the only reason why people go to work. People may enjoy cooking, building or being artistic, so they use their talents to make a living. Others might have a passion for something. Youth workers want to see young people thriving in their lives. Disability support workers desire to see people living happily in their communities.
People can also discover their calling in life. God has shown them the task He has called them to fulfil. So, people join or start ministries. Go on missions preaching the Gospel and alleviating suffering. People may also see the vocations I’ve mentioned above as their callings.
Reasons to work found in Scriptures – earn a living
In Samoan culture or in many families, children are encouraged to do well in education. In the hope that we find a well-paying job when we complete our studies. So, we can provide for ourselves and contribute to the family.
The attitudes of working hard, self-sustainability and serving are instilled in us from a young age. I see similar attitudes conveyed in 2 Thessalonians, chapter 3, verses 7-9, (NASB)
“For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labour and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example.”
Paul did not want to be a burden to the people, so he earned his own wages. Paul encourages and exampled earning a living to provide for oneself. If we are able to work and receive income in some way, we should do so.
Created for work
God creates each person with a purpose. He blesses everyone with skills and talents. We are to use our skills to fulfil the calling on our lives.
In the Bible we see God creating people at specific times to do specific jobs. Here are some people from the Old Testament:
The first man was created to work in the garden. Genesis, chapter 2, verse 15 (NASB)
“Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.”
Moses was called to be the leader of the people of Israel. His role was to lead the people out of captivity and through the wilderness. God also gave him the instructions for building the tent of meeting.
However, the skills to build the tent was given to other men. One of them was Bezalel.
“See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship” Exodus, chapter 31, verses 2-3.
We learn in what God told Jeremiah the prophet that God sets our purposes before we’re born. Jeremiah, chapter 1, verse 5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations."
I find it encouraging that God thinks about why He creates each individual as he creates us. Therefore, I believe no life is a wasted life because we’re all created with a part to play. Although, it is an individual decision to do what we’re called to do or not.
Working for who?
It is a good question for Christians to ask ourselves. What is my intention to work? Or to find employment? Is gaining financial wealth, having self-worth and pride, pleasing others what motivates us to work the best we can.
The Bible also tells us what our attitude towards work should be. Instead of just doing a job to make the boss happy to get paid. Paul says, in Colossians chapter 3, verse 23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,”
It’s not easy to be conscious of this all the time. I get lost in completing a task and so I don’t include giving Glory to the Lord in my thinking process as much as I should.
Work is a good thing
We use our time productively and meaningfully when we work. I’ll leave this with the wise words of Solomon. Ecclesiastes, chapter 5, verse 18, (NLT)
“…I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life”
Manuele Teofilo lives in South Auckland with his parents and siblings. He has graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Human Services and plans to work in the disability sector. He enjoys getting around in his electric wheelchair and having fun with people.