The Value of Work


Mark T for 'true' or F for 'false' and then explain why.

T      F


Work is a necessary evil. It is the result of the fall.

T     F


The purpose of higher education is to get a job to support yourself (and family).

T     F


Only some Christians are called to serve God full time.

T     F


God cares more about how I treat the people around me at work than how well I do my job

.T     F


God gave the primary responsibility to take dominion over creation to men. Women are to help them.

T     F


The cleanliness of my house/room/car says something about my relationship to God.

T     F


The only godly value of being a great athlete who is a Christian is to use one's fame to share your testimony.

T      F


A Christian should never have more money than he could possibly spend in his lifetime.

Recovering the Truth about Work

Christians in our day harbors false ideas about work, especially physical work. It is seen as a necessary evil, or at best a means toward an end: we work in order to have enough to be able to live, and the hope of many is to be able to one day "stop working and serve the Lord full time". When students and even school leaders

see the work duty as taking precious time away from the student's "real" calling, that of study, we have bought into the ideology of the spirit of the age. The Bible speaks differently of work.

First of all, we are commanded to work. Work is not an option. The Lord said in the Fourth Commandment, "Six days shall you labor" (Exodus 20.9), and that is no more optional than are any of the other commandments. The Apostle Paul reiterated this commandment in II Thessalonians 3.10-13. Work is first of all obedience to the Lord's Word.

II Th 3:6-13 6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep aloof from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we {kept} working night and day so that we might not be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have the right {to this,} but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, that you might follow our example. For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone will not work, neither let him eat. 11 For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good. (NAS)

Second, work is holy. Work is our service, our worship.

Col 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Col 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.

1Thes 4:10-12 But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, and 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; so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.

Many historical and ideological factors have contributed to our compartmentalizing work off into a separate category, called "secular", "morally-neutral", and other misleading terms. Because the Lord has commanded it, work is not any less spiritual, or less important, than study, preaching, praying, singing worship songs, or any other pious religious activities.

Loren has often pointed out that Zechariah 14.21, among other texts, sanctifies the most mundane of our physical labors.

Zech 14:20 In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD's house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.

Third, work is one place students can take responsibility, exercise leadership, demonstrate good character and possibly use gifts or skills. This is accomplished best where students have some choice in where they work and can exercise initiative. It can also be place to confront stero types, (a South African white person cleaning bathrooms, a black person working in the office; or a Romanian man washing dishes, or a Korean Pastor serving at meal times.)

Fourth, Work is Worship. The Celtic monks of the early Church saw no divisions between work and worship, study and prayer. They had a unified view of the Creation of God, where all of reality was a sacrament unto Him. Each of the monks participated in a routine of daily work, worship times impregnated with the Word, prayer, and study. All was one in these monasteries, and none would think of refusing to work because it was somehow less important, or less spiritual. Our DTSs must be careful not to compartmentalization and be sure our view of worship to includes all that we do.

Rom 12:1 AI urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, {which is} your spiritual service of worship.@

Finally, our desire in the DTS is to train servant leaders. We are not in the business of helping people prepare for high-paying jobs, or to gain a spirituality that is divorced from the real world. We desire to see our graduates serving others. If they cannot serve their brothers whom they have seen, in physical and practical ways, how in the world can we imagine that they will serve the nations they have not seen?

The Servant King washed the feet of His followers. He performed a dirty, smelly job that even a Hebrew slave could refuse to do. He said, "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet" (John 13.14). We can quite easily spiritualize this passage, forgetting in the process that those were real feet, and the water and the towel were also real.


Work Duty Process Tool

To be filled out after discussion on Recovering the Truth about Work and after at least one day of work duties. (Can break class up into their work teams to talk about this after it is filled out. )

  1. In the work duty you have been assigned, describe the difference between doing an unacceptable, good, and excellent job.
  2. How does your work duty contribute to the community (identify several).
  3. In what ways can you bring glory to God by doing your job. (identify several)
  4. Explain how the work you do is worship. (Not worshipping while you work eg listen to worship music)