Sunday, February 2, 2014

Work in the Bible

One of the great gifts of the Reformed/Puritan tradition is what sociologist Noah Webster referred to as the Protestant Work Ethic. This is the idea that work is something sacred to the Lord, and that whatever vocation we take up, whether it is in business, the arts, the sciences, law, etc., we must work hard and pursue our vocation to the glory of God. There is certainly much in the Bible that speaks to this topic, which is why I want to give a small compendium of relevant Bible verses.

Proverbs 6:6-11:
Go to the ant, O sluggard; 
consider her ways, and be wise. 
Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, 
she prepares her bread pin summer 
and gathers her food in harvest.
How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man.  

Proverbs 14:23:
In all toil there is profit,
but mere talk tends only to poverty 

Ecclesiastes 9:10: Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going. 

Ephesians 4:28: Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 

Colossians 3:17, 23-24: And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him... 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.

1 Thessalonians 4:10-12: But we urge you, brothers... to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

2 Thessalonians 3:6-12: Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

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