Faith isn’t something that you leave at home or only live out in private. It should affect everything you do, including how you work. We are Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) to everyone we interact with, including our families, neighbors, coworkers, and clients.
Work is one of the biggest aspects of our lives, so the Bible has a lot to say about how we should do it. Here are five ways you can be a godly worker:
1. Work Hard.
We are made to work. Although our fallen world makes work more difficult (Genesis 3:17-19), work itself is not a punishment for sin; God gave people jobs even in paradise, before the fall (Genesis 2:15). Believers are called to work, as we are able, to provide for ourselves and our families (1 Timothy 5:8). The goal of life is not to get rich quickly so that we no longer have to work (Luke 12:16-21); instead, we should work diligently (Proverbs 21:5).
- “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” (Proverbs 10:4)
- “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.” (Proverbs 12:11)
- “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” (Proverbs 13:4)
- “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.” (Proverbs 13:11)
- “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.” (Proverbs 14:23)
- “Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.” (Proverbs 18:9)
- “I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. 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 24:30-34)
- “…and 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.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)
- “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
2. Work Well.
We are not only called to work, but to work well, as if we are working for God Himself (Colossians 3:23-24). God is the One who gives us the ability to work (Exodus 31:2-6), and it honors Him when we steward those gifts well (Matthew 25:14-30). Excellent work will be recognized and rewarded, either by other people (Daniel 6:3) or by God (Revelation 22:12).
- “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3)
- “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.” (Proverbs 22:29)
- “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” (Luke 16:10)
- “Rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.” (Ephesians 6:7-8)
3. Serve Your Employer.
Although you can choose to be a godly employee, you are not guaranteed to have a godly employer. You are still called to obey those who are in authority over you—not because they are good or righteous, but because you serve a good and righteous God (Titus 2:9-10). You should serve your employer with integrity, even when they are not looking; don’t just put on a show in order to win their approval (Colossians 3:22). By doing so, you provide a positive example and potentially create opportunities to share the gospel (Philippians 2:14-16).
- “Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” (Ephesians 6:5-6)
- “Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these things.” (1 Timothy 6:1-2)
- “Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.” (1 Peter 2:18)
4. Don’t Sin in Your Work.
There is an exception to the above rule: you shouldn’t obey your superiors if they ask you to do something wrong. Your chief authority is God, not men (Acts 5:29). Disobeying an order might have consequences, but it is better to be punished for doing good (1 Peter 3:17) than rewarded for doing evil. Even if doing the right thing causes you to lose pay, promotions, or the job itself, trust that God will judge justly (1 Peter 2:20-23).
- “And if you make a sale to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor, you shall not wrong one another.” (Leviticus 25:14)
- “A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.” (Proverbs 11:1)
- “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.” (Ephesians 4:28)
- “Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, ‘Teacher, what shall we do?’ And he said to them, ‘Collect no more than you are authorized to do.’ Soldiers also asked him, ‘And we, what shall we do?’ And he said to them, ‘Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.’” (Luke 3:12-14)
5. Rest from Your Work.
We are created to work, but we are also designed for rest. God gave us bodies that require rest, and He commanded His people to take a day off each week (Exodus 20:8-11). Resting well shows that we trust God to provide; we don’t have to constantly be working and striving to acquire more material goods (Proverbs 23:4).
- “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.” (Exodus 34:21)
- “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep." (Psalm 127:1-2)
- “Again, I saw vanity under the sun: one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, ‘For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?’ This also is vanity and an unhappy business." (Ecclesiastes 4:7-8)
- “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5)