In our previous articles we looked at how work is a gift from God and the different reasons we should work. However, it is one thing simply to work. It’s another thing entirely to work in a way that glorifies God. What makes our work as Christians distinct from the work of others who don’t know the Lord? In this article, we’ll look at seven specific ways our work should be different, seven ways to honour God in our work.
1. Commit Your Work to God
Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.” Whether our work is raising our children, tending gardens, or constructing tall buildings, it is always important to lay our work before God in prayer.
Acknowledging our dependence on God as we work honours him.
Committing our work to the Lord is a way to recognise that we work in order to serve him. It is also an act of obedience and acknowledges that we can’t do the work on our own. We need the Lord’s help and his blessing to get through the difficulties and challenges of our work. And we need to seek his guidance and wisdom for our work. Acknowledging our dependence on God honours him.
2. Work Hard
Proverbs 10:4 teaches, “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” This is one of many passages in the Bible that teaches the value of hard work. Paul also claimed that he sometimes worked both night and day (2 Thessalonians 3:7-8). On the other side, there are also many Bible passages, especially in the book of Proverbs, that warn against laziness. God is honoured when we apply physical and mental effort to work hard.
It’s more common for people to rob their employers through laziness than by misusing office cash.
For our jobs, we should arrive on time. We should do a full day’s work. It’s more common for people to rob their employers through laziness than by misusing or stealing office cash. We should put in our best effort rather than the required minimum. Even if we do not have a boss and we run our own farm or business, we must still work hard, looking for new initiatives and ways to improve.
3. Learn Gratitude
God created us with work in mind. It is part of God’s design. We honour God when we recognise this design and thank God for our work and the fruits of our work. Even when our work is difficult, we remember that God provides for us through it. We should be thankful and humble.
We should be thankful and humble.
And we should also try to enjoy our work. This fits with the wisdom we learn in Ecclesiastes 2:24-25, “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?”
4. Pursue Excellence
When we do excellent work, whether it is cleaning well, making beautiful chairs as a carpenter, or administrating diligently in an office, we honour God. God is the Creator who recognised his creation as “good” (Genesis 1:31). We honour him when we also do good quality work.
We honour God when we do good quality work.
God is not honoured when we produce substandard goods that don’t last and break after a short time. He isn’t honoured when we sell drugs in the market that are inauthentic or expired and end up making people more unhealthy instead of treating their sicknesses. God is not honoured when we speak rudely to our customers when they have a complaint about the food we served them. Let us endeavour to produce good products and services that others can enjoy and thank God for. Since we are made in God’s image, we honour God when we make good things just like God made his creation good.
5. Obey the Authorities
We need to do the right thing and obey the rules of our supervisors and the laws of our respective countries. Paul teaches in Romans 13:1-2, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” God’s command is that we obey the laws in our nation.
We must obey even if we do not have any danger of being caught. We must obey even if the laws are not being enforced. And we must obey even if everyone else is breaking the rules. As Christians we must try to obey all the laws as long as they do not go against God’s word. Imagine you are a bus or taxi driver. It is more important to drive safely according to the laws than to play Christian music on the radio and write “Jesus saves” on the vehicle.
We must obey even if the laws are not being enforced.
If we do not do our work with integrity, we are denying Christ through our actions. We should reflect on the hard words of Titus 1:16. Paul writes, “They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.” We actually become hypocrites by shouting to people that we are Christians, but then not working like Christians. Rather, we must honour God at work by obeying the law.
6. Steward God’s Creation
God has made us stewards of his world and we must care for it well (Genesis 1:28). Further, we know that the creation points people to God and gives him glory in its beauty (Psalm 19). Of course, it is right for us to use God’s creation in our work: trees, minerals, and animals. But we must do so while keeping our environment healthy. We must avoid deforestation, pollution, and other environmental problems as we go about our work. As of 2009, the deforestation rate in Africa was four times more than the world average.
By taking care of God’s creation we love our neighbours.
We are to do our work in God’s world in a way that will make God’s world more beautiful, healthy, and productive. And let’s not forget. When we take good care of God’s creation, we are providing a healthier environment for other people, and especially for future generations. This love of our neighbour honours God.
7. Practice Integrity
Integrity is not perfection; we all still struggle with sin. But our faithful honesty at work, home, and church shows the real relationship we have with Christ. We must resist corruption. If we are dishonest in the little things, we will also be dishonest in the big things. If you are dishonest in anything, you are not a trustworthy person. Thus Jesus asks, “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. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” (Luke 16:10-12).
Our honesty can lead others to know Christ.
In addition to honouring God at work, our integrity and honesty can lead others to know Christ. “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honourable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12). Keeping our integrity can be difficult. In some positions we may lose our job if we fail to participate in the corruption of others. But if we are true followers of Christ, we will be willing to suffer for his name (see 1 Peter 4:12-16).
Questions for Reflection:
- Imagine you are the owner of a shop. Which gives more glory to God: running a successful and profitable business, or naming the shop, “Praise Jesus Supermarket”, or both?
- What rules and laws are not being obeyed in your workplace and in the nation? Are Christians obeying them?
- What is one specific thing you can change in your work practices in order to take better care of God’s creation?
- Are you prepared to suffer for Christ in your workplace in order to keep your integrity?
Helping Without Hurting in Africa: Facilitator Manual trains leaders to proclaim the gospel in both word and deed, changing mind-sets and helping them apply biblical principles to care wisely and compassionately for people who are poor without unintentionally doing harm.
Helping Without Hurting in Africa provides readers with the foundational concepts and tools in Christ-centered poverty alleviation and doubles as a ready-to-use facilitator manual that helps participants:
- Grow in their relationships with God, others, self, and the rest of creation.
- Gain a new focus on the kingdom of God in their ministries.
- Renew their love and compassion for the materially poor.
- Obtain knowledge about how to help low-income individuals and communities more wisely.
- Empower churches and ministries to bring lasting change, starting with their own resources.
Contact Oasis Regional Directors to order Helping Without Hurting in Africa: Facilitator Manual:
- Regional Director East Africa: WhatsApp: +27 79 572 4877
- Regional Director West Africa: WhatsApp +234 809 111 1184
More ordering information at oasisinternationalpublishing.com/buy