OK, so you’ve figured out your calling, and you are now working or studying in that calling. What does the Bible teach about how to work?

First of all, you are to work as unto the Lord (Col. 3:23). That means you are to work as if the Lord was your boss, that he was employing you, paying you, and you reporting to him.

Second, do it with all your might (Col. 3:23). You are being paid to give your time, talent, and energy to your calling and therefore everything not given to it is theft. You are stealing. On the question of theft, do not steal even a pencil from your employer. Just because others do, doesn’t mean you should.

Third your work is your witness. Your primary responsibility at work is not to evangelize but to do the work you have been called to do. The best way to witness is to excel in your work or studies. Nothing will make you stand out today like simply working hard for seven solid hours a day. Remember, if you prove yourself in work, the Lord will give you opportunities to serve in his church as well (Luke 16:10; 1 Tim. 3:10).

Fourth, speak respectfully of your employers, employees, colleagues, customers, clients, patients, etc.

Fifth, accept disappointments and prepare to suffer injustice even for doing good at work. In doing so, you will be an example of Christ (1 Peter 2:13-25; 3:14-18).

Sixth, stay where you are (1 Cor. 7:20). One of the best pieces of advice I received in my life was “Stay where you are unless God shows you clearly otherwise.” Of course, there are times when God calls you elsewhere but you shouldn’t jump ship every time you face a problem or someone offers you an extra dollar an hour. There are many lessons to be learned in the workplace that you cannot get if you are constantly chopping and changing. Again, the Christian should be an example of steadiness, consistency, reliability, and contentment.

Seventh, seek personal development. Pursue studies, training, challenges, etc., to help you to grow and multiply your talents (Matt. 25:14-30).

Eighth, establish work boundaries. Do all that you can to keep work within certain hours so that you are not taking it home with you and engaging in calls and emails all through the evening or the weekend. When you are engaging in deep work that requires intense thought, you must shut off all distractions – both digital and human. When you are working, really work.

Action: Establish work boundaries

On that last point, your action item for this week is to draw and maintain boundaries around your work. That means two things. First it means that when you are working, work. That’s all you do. You’re not surfing the net, doing social media, making personal calls, etc. You’re working with all your might. Second, it means when you’re home, you’re not working. You’ve put in your hours at work and all calls, emails, etc, can wait until tomorrow or Monday. When you’re working, really work. When you’re resting, really rest. Our work will be far more rewarding and our rest far more renewing, the more we can keep these boundaries high, clear, and distinct.

Real men work hard….within boundaries.

Discussion Questions

1. What practical difference will it make to your daily work to remember that the Lord has called you to it and is your boss (Col. 3:23)?

2. How does 1 Peter 3:14-18 help you at work?

3. What can you do to make the boundaries between work and rest high and clear?

Further Reading

God Cares About Your Mundane Calling
4 Reasons Your Work Matters Today
4 Ways the Gospel Transforms Work (audio)
The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working (video)