What Does the Bible Say About Work?

Jan 11, 2022

“Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3)

It can be such a challenge to head to work on Monday. After a refreshing weekend, we walk back into the office – or log onto yet another Zoom call – and helplessly watch as our frustration and weariness return.

How often do we spend Sundays worshiping God, just to turn around and start our Mondays like atheists? The joy, energy, and purpose we claim in Christ are nowhere to be found.

Tension with our coworkers, along with stress and fatigue, can be so draining. And many believers wrestle with purposelessness, feeling like their career path isn’t making a difference for God’s kingdom.

But surely it doesn’t have to be this way! You’d think there would be something better about the work life of a Christian.

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Read on to explore what the Bible says about work and what that means for how we should approach our day-to-day. And join us in learning to quit working like a bunch of “Monday Morning Atheists” and start working like followers of God!

Tension with Coworkers

As Christians, we know we should live every day with the joy of the Lord. But this is often easier said than done – especially within the workplace. When our Monday-morning moodiness meets that of our coworkers, it can be painful for everyone. But when did the Bible ever tell us to work this way?

Philippians 2:14-15 – “Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.”

Ephesians 4:1-3 – “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling for which you’ve been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace.”

We must remember to face the day with the right mindset. We’re supposed to be “above reproach” in the way we work. After all, we’re citizens of a heavenly kingdom, representatives of God’s love at work in us.

This means we should demonstrate that same love, patience, and kindness to our coworkers – even to those who make it really difficult for us. If we won’t do this, then how are we living any differently from unbelievers?

Mondays can be divine opportunities for us to show others the grace that only God offers. Let’s look at those around us through the eyes of God, who created each of them and is working in their lives to this day. Then, let’s invite Him into our daily interactions and ask Him to change our relationships for the better.

Stress and Fatigue

Easily one of the most common struggles we face in the workplace is burnout. Masters of productivity, we pride ourselves on working harder, faster, and longer. But does the Bible actually tell us to work like this, to the point of complete exhaustion? Or is there a better way to approach the work-life balance?

Stress

When we work in our own strength and expect to succeed on our own, we quickly become overwhelmed. Inevitably, we face obstacles and fail.

This can be a major source of burnout – we want to show others that we are capable, successful, or worthy of a promotion. We overextend ourselves trying to prove that we’re good enough. Then we fall victim to crippling stress, because – despite what we might like to believe – we are not perfect.

It’s time to get over ourselves, and to get comfortable with our weaknesses.

Instead of placing our identity in how much harder we work and how much better we are, we need to come to terms with the fact that we bring nothing to the table.

Read that again: nothing.

Every opportunity or skill we have comes from God. The Bible says that the only valuable work we can do is supplied by Him. Failing to recognize this will lead us on a fast and frustrating path to disaster.

Psalm 127:1 – “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.”

2 Corinthians 9:8 – “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.”

So, let’s stop stressing ourselves out over proving our worthiness, and instead humbly rely on God’s grace to strengthen us and supply our work. Then our identity will no longer be in what we can do, but in what God is doing through us.

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One clear example of this is in the life of a friend, Grace. She describes a pivotal moment in her faith and in her relationship with work.

In college, Grace felt called to lead a women’s Bible study. She was so pumped at the opportunity, counting down the days until she could start.

But once it began, she became consumed with worry about her ability to lead well. She felt that she wouldn’t measure up to her own standards, and constantly compared herself to those around her who seemed more confident.

By the end, she found herself dreading Bible study each week, knowing that it would bring an onslaught of insecurity and anxiety.

The semester ended and brought the study to a close, and Grace now wrestled with disappointment over what she considered a failed experience.

It was at this time that God began to convict her of her pride. Pride? She thought. My confidence is at an all-time low; there’s no way my pride is an issue.

But over the following weeks, she began to recognize the effect that it had had on her life. It was her pride that told her she was capable of perfection and therefore couldn’t settle for anything less. It was her pride that led her to constantly compare herself with others. It was her pride that had stolen her joy and made her entirely consumed with her own insecurities.

After this realization, Grace began to confess her pride and ask God to release her from its grip. She now intentionally begins her workdays with prayer, asking God to do His work in her because she knows she can do nothing outside of Him. And she tries to be conscious of moments when she’s tempted to look for her identity in her accomplishments, or when her peace is disrupted by fears of failure.

If you recognize your own struggle in Grace’s story, I encourage you to closely evaluate where your identity has been placed. And if working in your own strength is the source of your stress and burnout, then hand it over to God and be released from the burden of trying to be enough!

Fatigue

The Bible tells us not only how to work, but how to rest.

Genesis 2:2 – “By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.”

Even God rested – but why? He doesn’t get tired or need a break.

You see, in this moment, God showed us there’s value and holiness to be found in rest. The world views rest as merely an option – and maybe even as a character flaw. But God sanctified the Sabbath day, blessing us with a time to worship and rest in Him.

If we’re going to pursue holiness in our work, we must be willing to rest as God intended. And maybe this will be one quality that sets us apart from atheists – that we disregard the “hustle” culture of today and instead obey the rest that our God has commanded.

By resting, we honor the bodies and minds that He has given us. We set ourselves up for holistic health and well-being. And we prepare ourselves to work with energy and enthusiasm, because resting well enables us to work well.

Lack of Passion or Purpose

Many of us don’t work in career fields where our kingdom impact is very obvious. We spend our days working mundane jobs and completing routine tasks.

And, let’s be honest, this can be pretty discouraging. We know that we’re called to serve God, but we feel that most of our week is spent doing things that aren’t relevant to His mission.

But that is simply a lie.

It’s a blessing to work in ministry, where we can witness our kingdom impact firsthand. But serving God is not limited to missionaries and pastors. He’s placed each of us in a specific position, uniquely equipped to carry out His will.

The Bible tells us that we can work with energy and purpose, because in everything we do we’re working for God. Whether He has called you be a stay-at-home parent, a doctor, or an accountant, He has called you to perform your tasks faithfully, in His name and for His glory.

So, we need to be good stewards of what He’s given us – our time and talents, our relationships, and our careers. We should be committed to diligence and integrity in everything we do. If this is true for us, we’ll be serving Him well.

In one of Jesus’ parables, a man left his servant with a sum of money, to do with it what he thought was best. This servant acted prudently and increased the value of the investment. As a result, his master commended him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness.” (Matthew 25:21).

In the same way, we must be faithful with whatever we’ve been given – much or little, noticeable or behind-the-scenes.

All throughout Scripture, God used the unassuming person and the underdog to accomplish His will. So don’t discount His desire to use you right where you are, even if it’s not glamorous by the world’s standards.

When we recognize the impact we can have here and now, our Monday mornings are no longer burdens to endure, but fresh opportunities to love and serve the Lord. So, let’s ask Him to bless all of our work, and then thank Him when He does!

Colossians 3:23-24 – “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”

We have an opportunity to reflect His character in the way we work. We can do this by loving others and being servant-hearted, by resting well, and by faithfully serving Him wherever we are.

To learn more about taking back your workweek and serving God with renewed passion and energy, download our free resource today!

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