Question – “Why don’t many people give an excellent effort in their vocations or careers?” Many times people don’t work hard because they lack incentive, they’re overwhelmed by the pressures of life, they’ve been hurt (and haven’t been able to overcome that hurt), or they’re just lazy. God’s Word indicates, however, that the Lord looks with extreme disfavor upon someone who doesn’t work hard. In First Timothy 5:8 we read, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Second Thessalonians 3:10 tells us, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” God’s Word condemns laziness and a lack of passion and effort to provide for one’s family.
Second Question – “What are some reasons for people to work hard?” You answer may include any or all of the following: to pay bills, support our families, advance in our careers, put aside money in savings for emergencies, to have nice things or be to be able to participate in many activities. Those are all legitimate reasons for working diligently in our professions. There are some even higher reasons for us to work hard in our vocations and careers.
We are to work hard because it is a way for us to exalt the Lord. Paul wrote: “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17), and “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24). Those verses remind us that when we work hard, we are bringing glory and honor to the Lord. Those verses also remind us that we are to have good and godly attitudes in our work places, because we are “working for the Lord and not for men” and because our real reward will come from the Lord.
Another reason to work hard is because it helps us to evangelize others. The Bible indicates to us that the lost and ungodly are watching us even when we work, and that our efforts can be utilized to make them aware that we truly serve God in every area of our lives, and give them incentive to know the Lord. Daniel is an example of this. He worked hard and moved up through the ranks in the governments of two kingdoms, even though he was born in another nation. He was such an example to others, even in his “work life,” that the Bible says that although others tried to find fault with him, they could not because “he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent” (Daniel 6:4). Eventually Daniel was trapped by the jealousy of others around him, and his life would have been extinguished, but because of his faith in the Lord and the power of the Lord upon him, his life was spared. Then, the Persian king Darius, who had already noted Daniel’s godly demeanor and his diligent work ethic declared that the whole nation should worship the God of Daniel (Daniel 6:1-23). That’s what God can do through our witness at work when we are faithful to live for Him, and when we give an excellent effort in our vocations.
As you pray today: 1) Pray for the Lord to reveal to you your attitude and effort in your work place, and either seek forgiveness if it’s not all it should have been, or seek further direction, if you’ve have been working diligently, and with a Christ-like attitude; 2) Pray for the Lord to show you how to better honor Him and reach out to others through your vocation; and 3) Pray for those you work for and with today.