Giving: The Higher Purpose of Work

Chef at Work

If you think that you go to work every day so that you can make money for yourself and your family, you only understand half of the truth. Because according to God, the higher purpose of work is giving.

Today’s lesson is short and simple, yet also profound. We work for a lot of reasons, and providing for our needs certainly has something to do with it. But working to eat is a simple philosophy, and falls short of what God has in mind for work. He wants us to work so that we can help people in need.

Work is essential to success in life, and certainly to financial success. And as we’ve said before, all work is God’s work, because every type of work is ultimately a way that we serve people. But there’s more to work than that: God wants His people to work so that they have money to use for giving. Let’s go straight to Ephesians 4:28 to see what Paul had to say about work and giving:

Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

This verse comes in Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus, in the context of encouraging them to go beyond the normal customs of the world and live up to the higher calling of God on their lives. One of the ways that he wants them to do that is to work, because by working they will have resources to use to help people in need.

This context is important because it helps us to understand the higher purpose of work for God’s people. Of course, work will always be  our primary method of earning money to take care  of  ourselves and our families — nobody is denying that. But God wants us to see work as more than that. Work is an opportunity to earn money so that we can help people that desperately need it. Work isn’t just about feeding our families — it’s about making a difference in the world.

If we really buy into the truth of this scripture, we’ll begin to see work in a new way. If you believe that you work with the purpose of giving, you realize that the money that you earn from work is money that you can use to help change someone’s life. It’s money that you can use to help spread the Gospel. It’s money that you can give to organizations that fight injustice and lead people out of the slavery of sin. Work isn’t just what we do for eight hours a day in order to survive in life. Rather, every hour that you work is your contribution to changing the world.

If you struggle with motivation at work, perhaps this idea will help you. God has a higher purpose in the job that He has given you. Working well doesn’t just benefit you or your company — it also benefits the Kingdom.

Work diligently so that you can give generously. No matter what kind of work you do, and no matter how much money you earn while doing it,  God wants to accomplish more with the fruit of your labor than you could ever do on your own.


Photo by Ollee Svensson. Used under Creative Commons License.