Work is rewarding. I learned this at a young age. I still remember doing chores each Saturday, painting our whole house one summer, helping wash the car (at home with hose and soap bucket).
Cleaning the house is still a very satisfying thing for me- seeing the floor shine after I scrub it on my hands and knees- looking at the piles of laundry I have washed and folded before I take them to be put away.
Our youth group volunteered to help people (elderly people mostly) in our church who needed help raking their yards, moving or cleaning things in their house, painting a room or area, or any other handy projects that they were not able to physically do anymore.
It was so rewarding. It feels good to help others. To do something that serves someone else- to take the time to care.
One of the most disturbing things that I have seen in our country is a generation of people who do not value hard work.
They want to do as little as possible and get as much money as possible for doing it. If they can get the money without working-even better.
And working at something without earning money? Forget it.
But what about all that we learn through work? Through the sweat dripping down our backs, in the doing- we gain experience, competence, but also other unmeasurable (eternal) rewards.
I spent about an hour today just looking at all the passages in the Bible with the word “work” in them. Below are just a few.
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. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.
Proverbs 12:11,13-14,24,27 (if you have time, read the whole passage here)
11 Those who work their land will have abundant food,
but those who chase fantasies have no sense.
13 Evildoers are trapped by their sinful talk,
and so the innocent escape trouble.
14 From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things,
and the work of their hands brings them reward.
24 Diligent hands will rule,
but laziness ends in forced labor.
27 The lazy do not roast any game,
but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt.
9 One who is slack in his work
is brother to one who destroys.
25 The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him,
because his hands refuse to work.
26 All day long he craves for more,
but the righteous give without sparing.
Proverbs 31:17 Wife of Noble Character
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” 36 When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed.
Jesus refers to His ministry as the work the Father has given Him. Consider- not all “work” is necessarily manual labor, but it still requires a conscious effort on our part to reach out to others around us, to meet others needs whether they be physical, emotional, or spiritual.
Paul calls those who work with him his co-workers in Christ (NIV).
1 Corinthians 4:9-13
9 For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
1 Corinthians 15:57-58
57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
No matter our age, our earthly experience, our own sins and weaknesses- there is work for all of us to do. That work may change as life progresses- maybe some seasons will require more physical work while others will call on you to teach what you have learned to the younger generation.
But we must not be idle, and consider carefully who we are working for. What eternal purpose/value is there in our work? Are we doing what God has called us to or just what is comfortable?
Warning Against Idleness (2 Thessalonians 3)
6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.
14 Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.
I pray that today we would consider the work that God has for us to do-whether you work outside the home or not, whether you see hundreds of people each day or two- what would God have you do? What work has He prepared in advance for you to do? (Eph. 2:9-10)