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Work Diligently

Work for God in everything you do

Doug Britton, MFT

Page Summary
Summary: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. (Colossians 3:23). Wherever you are, you are representing God.

Part 4 of a 4-part series on “Living with Integrity”

Part 1      Part 2      Part 3


Several years ago I knew a man who said he was tired of working for a living. He quit his job and said he was trusting God to provide for all his needs.

How did he do that? He parked his van in the church parking lot and waited for God to send people with groceries. He thought trusting God meant to stop doing anything to support himself and instead be a burden to other people.

Work for God in everything you do

Most of the examples in this study are about working for a living. However, the same guidelines apply to all areas of your life—on the job, with your spouse, with your children, in church.

Wherever you are, you are representing God, and you are working for him.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. (Colossians 3:23)

Work enthusiastically as unto the Lord. Work to please him, even if your boss doesn’t seem to appreciate your efforts. God will see everything you do and be pleased.

it personal

1. The Bible says to work for the Lord, not for men, in everything you do. What does that mean?

Work is part of God’s plan

This man I mentioned above had the wrong idea about work. Work is part of God’s purpose for us. God called Adam, the first person he created, to be a gardener (Genesis 2:15).

The Bible tells us to work hard. In fact, it says if people won’t work, they shall not eat.

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10)

Of course, this verse refers to people who are able to work. However, even if someone is unable to work to earn a living, he or she should look for ways to help the cause of Christ.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

Paul was a tentmaker.

All work is honorable. Paul, an apostle who travelled constantly spreading the Gospel of Jesus—and who wrote much of what became the New Testament—also worked as a tentmaker.

After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. (Acts 18:1-3)

We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it. (1 Corinthians 4:12)

Make it personal

2. Have you thought work was a good thing? Why or why not?

Jane, a woman I knew, cleaned toilets in a government building. Each day she acknowledged to the Lord that she was working for him. She praised him as she went about her work.

Ask God to help you follow Jane’s example and work with the right attitude. Instead of gossiping and grumbling about the hours, the job, or your supervisor, be thankful for your tasks. Honor your boss.

This doesn’t mean it’s wrong to bring up problems with your employer or ask for a raise. But it does mean you should do so respectfully.

What do you think?

3. Do you need to change your attitude toward your work or your boss? If so, what changes do you need to make?

4. Do you need to throw yourself more into any other part of your life, such as spending time with your family, taking care of your home, or serving your church? What will you do differently?

Don’t be lazy

Whether you work for someone else, own a business, volunteer at church, or are a homemaker, throw yourself into your work and do the best you can (Colossians 3:23). Learn how to do your job better. Take advantage of training opportunities. Seek wisdom.

In other words, don’t be lazy.

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:6-11)

Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son. (Proverbs 10:4-5)

A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied. (Proverbs 13:4)

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. (Proverbs 14:23)

One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys. (Proverbs 18:9)

Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless go hungry. (Proverbs 19:15)

Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing. (Proverbs 20:4)

The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work. (Proverbs 21:25)

Make it personal

5. Are you a lazy or hard worker? Score yourself from 0-10, with 0 meaning you are lazy and 10 meaning you are a hard worker. Explain your answer.

6. If you scored yourself under 7, what is one way in which you will work harder in the coming week?

Related: Live life as an adventure

Be a good example to non-believers

When you work hard, you win the respect of unbelievers and are a positive example to those around you. When you are lazy, you are a bad example and hurt the cause of Christ.

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)

Avoid get-rich-quick schemes

The Bible encourages us to work hard instead of wasting time, effort, and finances on get-rich-quick schemes. In fact, two separate Proverbs warn against “chasing fantasies.”

Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense. (Proverbs 12:11)

Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty. (Proverbs 28:19)

It’s okay to make investments. Jesus used an example of wise investing when he taught the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). However, be sensible when you invest. Pray for wisdom.

Make it personal

7. What’s wrong with chasing fantasies?

8. Are you ever tempted to chase fantasies? If your answer is “yes,” do you think God would want you to do anything differently? Explain your answer.

Overcome fear

Do not hold back from looking for a job, or trying to improve your situation, because of fear of failure. It may look as if your path is blocked with thorns, but God can guide you through the thorns.

I’d like to add that failure isn’t always a bad thing. We can learn from our failures and do better in the future.

The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway. (Proverbs 15:19)

The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside! I’ll be killed in the public square!” (Proverbs 22:13)

Make it personal

9. Has fear held you back? If so, briefly describe how this worked.

10. Now take a few minutes to ask God to help you overcome your fear.

Related: Bible verses on overcoming anxiety

Stay balanced

Are you a perfectionist? Do you try to do everything exactly right? If so, you are in danger of wearing yourself out. You also are in danger of doing a great job on a few relatively unimportant things and doing a poor job on important things.

Ask God for wisdom and balance. Identify your most important responsibilities, and work on them. Do the best you can on your remaining tasks, knowing it’s impossible to do a perfect job on everything you do.

Make it personal

11. What are your most important responsibilities? How can you discipline yourself to work wholeheartedly on these areas and put less effort into other tasks?

Memory verse

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. (Colossians 3:23)

Personal application

1. What is God’s attitude about work?

2. Name some reasons why work is a good thing for people.

3. What does it mean to work as unto the Lord, not man?

4. What lesson can you learn from Jane, the woman who cleaned toilets?

5. Think about one verse on laziness, then explain how this verse motivates you.

6. What does this verse mean: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” (Colossians 3:23)?

7. Why should you avoid get-rich-quick schemes?

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About Doug Britton, MFT

Doug Britton, Bible-based Marriage and Family Therapist, has helped hundreds of thousands of people as a therapist, clinical director of a treatment center, seminar speaker, radio cohost, and author of over twenty books that show how to apply God's truths in your daily life. (Visit www.dougbrittonbooks.com.)

Copyright © 2020 Doug Britton. Permission granted to print for personal use. (Scripture verses are from the New International Version, copyright © 1984.) See reprint policy.

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