“How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? ‘A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest’—your poverty will come in like a vagabond and your need like an armed man.” ~ Proverbs 6:9–11
I remember well the hot summer day when, as a middle school boy, I told my friends I could not go with them to an amusement park because I had to work. “You have to what?” “Work.” At the time, I was not happy. And I appreciated that a few of the girls’ mothers were bothered by my martyrdom. In hindsight, however, I’m very grateful my father taught me the value of hard work and diligence at a relatively early age.
If ever I complained about having to work, my dad would quote Maynard G. Krebs, the 1960s television beatnik most famous for his one line—“Work?!?!” Krebs would have an apparent panic attack at the very mention of the ‘W’ word. Unfortunately, what television audiences once recognized as an obviously ridiculous attitude toward work has seemingly become an epidemic in our society today. Yes, it even has a name: ergophobia—the fear of hard work.
Indeed, in the two years following the pandemic, a record number of Americans—almost 100 million—quit their jobs in what has become known as the Great Resignation. We’re now experiencing a new phenomenon—the Great Disengagement. Many employees who haven’t formally quit their jobs have simply decided they will do as little work as necessary to avoid getting fired.
All of these issues, however, stem from a distorted and unbiblical view of work. The Bible teaches that a right view of hard work contributes to a fulfilling and God-honoring life. Christian men will do well to remember three reasons why we work.
1. Hard Work is a Major Part of God’s Plan for Your Life
Christians often share the wrong belief that work is a result of the curse, but the Bible reveals it has always been part of God’s plan for men to work. In Genesis 1:26, God said, “Let [man] rule…” Even before God created man, He had work for him to do. In his book Kingdom Man, Dr. Tony Evans calls this the “dominion mandate” and explains it remains part of God’s plan for your life today. God wants you to diligently steward and care for everything He has entrusted to you. A man cannot fully enjoy and experience God’s plan for his life unless he is performing a work that God has entrusted to him.
2. Hard Work Leads to the Good Life
Many men are desperately searching for the “good life.” While bestselling books like The 4-Hour Workweek promise to help readers “join the new rich” by “living more and working less,” the Bible teaches that the good life comes through hard work and diligence.
In Ecclesiastes 3:12–13, King Solomon recognized hard work as a key to a satisfying life. He observed it is good for a man to find satisfaction in his labor because it is a gift of God. Solomon knew that the very experience of reaping the fruits of diligent labor was a blessing from the Lord. It can bring meaning, purpose, and happiness to one’s life.
Hard work also leads to both temporal and eternal reward and success. In Proverbs 6:6–11, Solomon warned, “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and your poverty will come in like a vagabond and your need like an armed man.” Instead, he advises us to be like the hardworking ant who always has plenty in the harvest. If you ever wonder why it seems like you have to work so hard to be successful or achieve something significant, it’s because you do!
Hard work doesn’t just lead to success in this world; it can also lead to eternal rewards in heaven. In 1 Corinthians 3, the Apostle Paul explained that God would evaluate whether our work furthered His purposes and glorified Him or whether our lives were wasted on selfish pursuits. God promises that those who serve Him well will receive an eternal reward. Now, that is true success!
3. Hard Work is an Act of Worship
Finally, hard work is a spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1 urges us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God as true and proper worship. One way to worship God in your daily life is through your work. Colossians 3:23–24 says, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for people, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” No matter your job, your role, or your responsibilities, every day presents you with an opportunity to worship the Lord by doing your work unto Him.
Men work. But always remember, it is the Lord Christ whom you serve! In view of God’s mercy, get to work, and offer your work to the Lord as your spiritual service of worship.
Questions for Thought
- What has God already entrusted to me to steward and care for in service to Him?
- What can I do today to worship the Lord through my work?
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us work to do. Thank you for the undeserved blessings you have entrusted to us. We pray that you would help us to steward those blessings well and that we would fulfill the calling you have placed on our lives. We offer our work to you as a spiritual act of worship and pray it will be pleasing in your sight. Lord, we pray you would give us more work to do for you and that when we stand before Christ, we might receive His commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Amen.
Ben serves by leading and overseeing the ministries and operations of First Baptist Dallas as the Executive Pastor. He has served in full-time ministry for more than a decade and is passionate about building the church of Jesus Christ and equipping the saints for the work of ministry. Ben earned a Juris Doctorate from Baylor University and a B.B.A. from Hardin-Simmons University. He and his wife, Parris, have four boys and one girl.