Saturday, 23 September 2023
“Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings;
He will not stand before unknown men.” - Proverbs 22:29
The Bible exhorts each believer to excel in his work! Apostle Paul spoke much about doing one’s work diligently, in several epistles. 1Thes.4:11 – “…to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you.” We live in a time when everyone wants to excel in everything they do, so we see a lot of unethical practices in people to prove that they excel in their work. Is the Bible talking about excelling in your work somehow?
The Bible is congruent in its teaching on any subject— so too with work and about doing it effectively! The first task that God gave mankind was to WORK!! He entrusted Adam in Gen.3:23 to work! “….. therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.” However, the pattern to carry on with the work was shown by God Himself! Work for six days and rest the seventh day!! Even when you work, God’s model was to work from morning until evening!! And whatever God put His hand into He did it diligently!
Even man is the outcome of the diligent work of God!! The earth that we live in also is the handiwork of God – what a masterpiece of excellence!! Later on, we see God Himself introducing the division of labour and delegation of tasks!! -the context was the construction, setting up, dismantling and transport of the Tabernacle through the wilderness. In every aspect of the life of God’s children, we can see this - diligent work, being carried out in an orderly manner. But never did God allow work to replace God!! The seventh day was to rest from all work and devote for worshipping God! We can see that in the highly commercialized world of today, all these godly principles are violated!!
The Bible also speaks very clearly about paying the employees correctly. It also tells us how the relationship should be between the employee and the employer, especially when both are believers! Equally important is the aspect of maintaining ethics in doing your work or business. Eph.6:5,6 – Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh……… not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.
God delights in correct weights and measures Prov.20:10: “Diverse weights and diverse measures, they are both alike, an abomination to the Lord.” Flattering lips are an abomination before God. So to get a promotion, we need not have to please the boss – but only excel at the work. You will stand before kings – ie. you will stand before your highest authority who will recognize your faithful service and will reward you!
The Bible’s teaching on work encompasses a whole spectrum of work that we undertake - whether secular job, God’s work, business, house work, homemaking- in all these the basic principles are the same:
· Do your work diligently, as though you work for the Lord!
· Don’t do your work to please your boss
· Respect the authorities at your work place
· Do not try to hide behind vain reasons to escape from doing work (Thessalonians weren’t doing any work believing that the coming of the Lord is imminent!)
· He who does not work is not eligible for his food!
· Work only Six days and there should be a rest day!
· Work meticulously when you can (e.g: The Ant in Proverbs)
This is what it means to “excel in work” – you will surely stand before your earthly king one day to be honoured and will stand before your heavenly Master one day who will reward you richly for the excellent work carried out, on earth!
TO ACT ON: How is our work? Would we take necessary steps to keep our work in standard with God’s principles?