This series has been one of my favorites to write. I hope that it has been helpful to you. Today we are talking about how in the family of God, We Work Hard.
My brother and I basically grew up in a barbecue restaurant. My dad was the manager/meat smoker, my mom worked the cash register/made sidedishes and my brother and I filled drinks. My parents would pick us up from school and then take us right to the restaurant until they were finished for the day. There were no cell phones or tablets for us to play on. We could sit in a booth and count cars driving by (which we often did), we could compete to see whose BBQ sauce would shoot all the way to the ceiling when we bumped the bottles hard enough against the table (probably not our best idea!) or we could help around the restaurant. We were taught the value of hard work very early. We both worked full-time during summer breaks starting when we were 14 years old. If we wanted a car, we were expected to pay for at least half of it. If we wanted to go on a trip with the youth group, we had to pay for it. I’m thankful for the way our parents modeled hard work to us.
Hard work is very much a value in the Family of God as well. God’s word has a lot to say about the value of hard work. We are going to study quite a few scriptures today. Please take the time to really read them. Don’t skip over them because they might be familiar to you. God might have new things for you to see today.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,” (Colossians 3:23 NIV).
- Work was a part of God’s plan for humanity before the fall.
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it,” (Genesis 2:15 ESV, emphasis added).
I always thought that work was a consequence of the fall of man, but it wasn’t. Before the fall, Adam and Eve lived in paradise. They had full access to God and things were absolutely perfect – it was Heaven on earth. In that place of complete perfection, God had jobs for Adam and Eve to do. They were expected to work the ground and gather their food. Adam was also responsible for naming the animals (Genesis. 2:19-20) and Eve was to work alongside him and help him (Gen. 2:18). God’s perfect plan was that our work would be fruitful and easy.
2. After the fall, work got much harder.
“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,
the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return,” (Genesis 3:17-19 NLT).
Adam and Eve’s disobedience led to serious consequences. All of us have been faced with the same temptations to doubt God’s goodness. When we take the bait that Satan offers us, we are guilty of the same sin. While work was not a consequence of the fall, struggling and sweating during our work was. In God’s mercy, He still promises that if we will work hard, we will have food to eat.
3. God is not a fan of laziness.
“Take a lesson from the ants, you lazy fellow. Learn from their ways and be wise! For though they have no king to make them work, yet they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter. But you—all you do is sleep. When will you wake up? “Let me sleep a little longer!” Sure, just a little more! And as you sleep, poverty creeps upon you like a robber and destroys you; want attacks you in full armor,” (Proverbs 6:6-11 TLB).
I love the comparison between hard work and ants. Have you ever seen an ant grab a crumb that has fallen on the ground around you? Their little bodies can do amazing things. I was looking up how much weight an ant can carry (the answer is between 10-50 times their weight-amazing!) and found something VERY interesting…
“Does the queen control the colony? No. Despite her size and royal title, the queen doesn’t boss the workers around. Instead, workers decide which tasks to perform based on personal preferences, interactions with nestmates, and cues from the environment. The colony exhibits a division of labor where different individuals specialize on different jobs. Younger ants often work inside the nest, taking care of the queen and her brood. Older workers are more likely to go outside to gather food or defend the nest against enemies.” Source: Arizona State University.
What’s amazing to me about that quote is that their scientific answer confirmed the Bible perfectly. God’s word says there’s no king dictating how the ants should work. This study proved the same thing.
We could learn a lot about the ways that ants choose their jobs based on their preferences and the needs of their community. So many of us struggle trying to figure out our purpose and calling. What do you like to do? What does your community need? Do that! And work hard at it!
“For when we were with you we instructed you with these words: “Anyone who does not want to work for a living should go hungry.” Now, we hear rumors that some of you are being lazy and neglecting to work—that these people are not busy but busybodies! So with the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, we order them to go back to work in an orderly fashion and exhort them to earn their own living,” (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 TPT).
4. God blesses those who work hard.
“Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper,” (Proverbs 13:4 NLT).
“Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!” (Proverbs 13:4 NLT).
“And without faith living within us it would be impossible to please God. For we come to God in faith knowing that he is real and that he rewards the faith of those who give all their passion and strength into seeking him,” (Hebrews 11:6 TPT).
Most of us understand that we need to work hard at our jobs. We make money there and that money pays our bills and feeds our children. The same principle is true in our relationship with God. I added that last scripture to show you that God wants us to work hard at cultivating our relationships with Him too. If we seek Him with all our “passion and strength”, He rewards us. That implies hard work and excellence to me. If we press in and not to allow our friendship with Him to get stagnant, He meets us and blesses us.
5. We will work in Heaven.
“And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him,” (Revelation 22:3 NKJV).
Remember that God planned for His children to work in the Garden of Eden before the fall? Their work was to be painless and fruitful. God is in the business of restoring what was stolen from us. We will have jobs to do in Heaven but they won’t come with any struggle or sweat. We will not struggle to make ends meet or have demanding bosses. God will be our “boss” for all eternity. We will be completely fulfilled in serving and worshipping Him.
“For now they shall rest from all their toils and trials; for their good deeds follow them to heaven!” (Revelation 14:13 TLB).
6. God works hard for us, too.
“But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working,” (John 5:17 ESV).
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work among you will complete it by the day of Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 1:6 NASB).
“I look up to the mountains and hills, longing for God’s help. But then I realize that our true help and protection come only from the Lord, our Creator who made the heavens and the earth. He will guard and guide me, never letting me stumble or fall. God is my keeper; he will never forget nor ignore me. He will never slumber nor sleep; he is the Guardian-God for his people, Israel,” (Psalm 121:2-4 TPT).
We do not serve a tyrannical Father who expect us to work hard while He sits around and eats bonbons. He is always moving on our behalf. In fact, the Bible says that He doesn’t sleep because His eyes are always on us. Good leaders model the behavior that they expect to see in their followers.
“Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness,” (Matthew 9:35 NLT).
Jesus also modeled work hard for us. Because He was a man, I can imagine that He was often physically drained. He leaned on the Holy Spirit’s strength and empowerment to be able to continue working and ministering to people.
God expects His family to work hard and to serve our bosses with honoring attitudes. He has given us all the tools we need in order to do so. Hard work and excellence serve as a testimony to the world that we belong to Jesus. They see Him in us when we do our best. Let’s take Jesus’ example and lean on the Holy Spirit for strength and empowerment to work hard.