Which of these people does the most important, godly and spiritual work: A doctor, a travel agent or a pastor?
If you answered “the pastor,” then I’m afraid you’re mistaken. The correct answer is “none of the above” — none of these people does work that is inherently better in God’s eyes in the other.
Okay, you can call it a trick question. But it’s a trick that makes a point. Though we like to think of some jobs as more “sacred” than others, there’s nothing biblical about that. All money comes from working hard to serve other people, and God doesn’t single out any kind of work as better than another. Why? Because all work is God’s work. No matter what you do on a daily basis or who you do it for, you’re really working for Him.
If we’re going to truly succeed with using God’s money to accomplish His purposes on earth, then we need to understand some of the basic economic principles that He created. We recently wrote about how all money comes from serving people. Today’s idea is very closely related to that: If all work is service, and God calls us to serve one another, then all work is God’s work.
To really grasp this concept, we need to go back to a very basic idea of our existence: Because God created us (and the world around us), He has a fundamental claim to our lives, our time and our resources. We are alive because He created us and breathed life into us. We have time to spend working because He has allotted a number of days for us in this life. We have money because He has entrusted some of His resources to us. So no matter what you’re doing, you’re using resources and privileges that God has given you. This means that you’re responsible to God for the work you’re doing, no matter how trivial the work seems.
Paul addressed this idea in the New Testament letter he wrote to the Colossians. Let’s check out Colossians 3:23-24:
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
It’s easy to think that we work for our human bosses, but Paul points out that this isn’t really the case. We may report to other people, and they may be the ones to sign our paychecks. But we’re ultimately responsible to God for the way we spend our time, so the work that we’re doing is really work for Him. No matter what kind of work we’re doing, we’re really serving God by serving His people. All work is God’s work.
This concept has real, important implications in the way that we think about our lives’ work. Missionaries serving overseas are certainly doing the work of the Lord, but so are the travel agents who help them get from one place to another. Pastors and preachers obviously serve God in the daily work, but so do the grocery clerks, dry cleaners and book sellers who help them with little tasks in life. There is no job so important that it is more godly than another line of work. There is no work so lowly or insignificant that it falls outside of God’s will. All legitimate work is God’s work.
As long as your work doesn’t involve doing something immoral or illegal, you’re really working for God. If we embrace that concept, it should make a big impact on the way that we work. If I know that I’m working for God, I’m not going to do the bare minimum required of me to get through the day. I’m going to give every task my very best effort. I’m going to work hard, even when I could get by with less. I’m going to give it everything I’ve got every day, and I’m going to do it with a great attitude and a thankful heart.
I’m not saying that I accomplish these things every day at the office — working as unto the Lord is a difficult thing for all of us from time to time. But understanding this concept gives us a goal for how we ought to be treating our work and our interactions with our bosses, co-workers and customers. If we really believe that we’re working for God, we’re going to be more productive, and we’re going to serve people better. Those of us that know we’re working for God should be the best employees that our organizations have.
No matter what you do, your work matters. If you approach it with the correct attitude — that you’re working for God and not man — you’re going stand apart from the crowd, and you’ll enjoy your work more while you do it. All work is God’s work, and He promises to reward those of us who do it faithfully.
Photo by Prince Roy. Used under Creative Commons License.