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A Christian Work Ethic

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

Article by Jeremiah Riner

Proverbs 20:4 says, "The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold: therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing." It's often overlooked and under discussed, but our work ethic as Christians says more about our spirituality than we may realize. When we take blessings and opportunities for granted we show God our apathy for the time He has given us on this earth to do something meaningful. Life is a gift from the Lord and the talents and abilities He blesses us with are to be used, developed, and appreciated.

When we treat our gifts with laziness we are disrespecting God, weakening our spirit, and holding out help for the people in our lives who need it most. The Scriptures teach us that laziness not only will be unrewarded, but will result in the loss of many things (and relationships) as well. Consider Proverbs 24:30-34 as the writer says, "I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And lo, it was all grown over with thorns and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man." What a sad state of affairs we read in this passage. The writer informs us well that the Lord taught him a valuable lesson on the subject of laziness. If we're not careful, just as this idle field owner was, we too can lose everything in a moment.

These verses from Proverbs 20 warn us that our lives can be robbed from us out of nowhere if we travel down the path of apathy and laziness. So is true for our ministries, our families, our institutions, and our communities. If we aren't putting forth our best efforts and relying fully on the Lord we are going to reap the bitter fruits which accompany a poor work ethic. Now, this is not to say we preach a works-based salvation, but this is to say we work hard because we are saved. In other words, don't put the cart before the horse. Salvation produces righteous works, but righteous works on our part do not produce salvation; only Christ can accomplish that. The subject of work ethic, however, should be one seen through the lens of sanctification and not salvation. In doing so we will gain a better understanding of our role in the Kingdom of God and how we can't just sit on our hands and expect the Lord to give us a harvest without sowing the seed first.

There was no laziness in the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and it should have no place in the life of His followers. Get out of the bed of idleness, grab the tools you've been given, and get involved in the work of the Lord. Not because you have to, but because you get to!

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