Work is a problem for all of us. We do not go around saying, “Thank God it’s Monday.” When we overwork we feel guilty about the way work robs us of time for other areas of life, including family activities and devotional exercises. At other time we feel guilty for disliking our work. So how should we react toward work in our life? Through this essay we are going to learn the right understanding of biblical view of work by looking at what is the definition of work, why should we work and how we as Christians should react toward work itself.
Definition of Work
is divided into three categories:
Activities that are required to sustain life
Example: Personal care (sleeping, eating, clothing)
Job that produces one’s income
Housework (preparing meals, cleaning the house, cutting the
Social obligation (helping a roommate, overseeing a child’s
homework, helping a friend)
activities that are usually placed into the category of leisure
Hobbies and other free time activities
Semi leisure activities:
activities that do not fall into neither categories.
They are either a mixture of obligation and
leisure, or they fall into one category or the
other depending one occasion.
Reading a book in order to keep informed
Caring for pets
can picture our daily activities as falling somewhere on the following scale:
Obligation Semi leisure Freedom
scale above has a special relevance to Christian activities. Many spiritual and
moral acts that Christians performed have a combined sense of duty and pleasure.
Christians pray, attend bible studies and worship services, serve on committees
of Christian organization, and volunteer their time to help people in need,
partly because they regard these as obligation of Christian life, and partly
because they want to do them. The whole area of "Christian ministry"
occupies a huge part of the middle of the scale for many Christians.
need to distinguish between work and job. Jobs are the work that we are paid or
by which we earn our live hood. So work, then, includes our job, but it extends
well beyond it.
of Work: Activities
that we do include all that we are obligated
to do to meet our physical and social needs.
Christian Theology of Work
of all before we start talking about work in Christian perspective, we have to
know that our God is a worker. We
know this from Genesis 2:2: “God finished his work which he had
done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he
had done”. Then in New Testament,
Jesus is a worker too. As he said, “We must work the work of him who
sent me” (John 9:4), then he said to Jew: “My father is working still, and I
also know that God created people in his image (Genesis 1:26-27).
The link between God’s work and humanity’s work is explicitly written
in the fourth commandment: “Six days you shall labor, and do all your work…..for
in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them
(Exodus 20:9. 11). People work
because the God who created them in His image works.
Then, work also is a part of God’s provision for human well being.
It is based on Genesis 1:26 : “Let them have dominion …. Over all the
earth”. Certainly in order to
conquer the earth, people have to work. Work
is also a natural law as God created this world.
Psalm 104 says “When the sun rises, man goes forth to his work
and to his labor until the evening”.
after the fall
neither began nor ceased with the fall of the human race, it simply took a
different shape. It became a curse rather than an unmitigated blessing.
Work becomes distasteful and wearisome.
Then, work also become subject to abuse like overwork, exploitation,
idleness, etc. However, we realize
that work also already redeemed. Work
itself retains some of the quality of a curse, but the attitude of the worker
can transform it.
and Secular dichotomy
reclamation of work in a fallen world begins where the Protestant ethic began-by
declaring the sanctity of all legitimate work in the world, no matter how
common. This means, no vocation, including church work, is regarded
as more “spiritual” or more pleasing to God than other types of work.
To believe that all of life is God’s open the door for all types of
work to be glorifying to God. This
how Bible portrays work. Paul urged
Titus to remind Christians “to be ready for any honest work” (Titus 3:1).
Paul was also a tentmaker as a way of earning his living (I Cor 9:12-19).
Many people of Bible that we know had common work such David as a
shepherd and king Saul as a farmer plowing and a king also.
Then other else God-ordained occupations such as God called Bezalel to be
an artist (Ex 31:1-5) and Moses to be a national leader, which is a political
leader (I Chronicles 9).
are 3 main purposes of work in this world
To provide for human needs. Proverbs
28:19 “He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he follows
worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty”.
Proverb 16:26 “A worker’s appetite works for him, his mouth urges him
on”. In 2 thess 3:12 Paul
said;” work in quietness and to earn their own living”.
Proverb 19:15 : “an idle person will suffer hunger”.
Proverb 20:4 “the sluggard ….. will
seek at harvest and have nothing”. Proverb
20:13 “Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes and you will
To fulfill our humanity. God
created people according to his image. God
the creator works so does the people his creation.
To glorify God
motivation for work as Christian is to glorify God.
Col 3:23-24 says “Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the
Lord and not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as
your reward; you are serving the Lord Christ.
Eph 6:5-7. The identity of
the worker comes from his or her relationship to God not from the prestige or
financial rating of the job or tasks. The
motivation likewise comes from a desire to please a heavenly master more than an
Calling: A necessary Foundation
Unless we place work into the context of Christian calling, we have
little to say about a Christian view of occupation. If however, we agree that
work in general and occupations in particular can be viewed in terms of
Christian calling, we can proceed to explore what this means in practical terms.
results when we view work as a calling from God:
is the one who calls people to do their tasks, it follows that God wants people
calls us to work, then to do the work is to obey God.
practical result of viewing work as a calling from God is the potential it
carries for inducing contentment and patience in work.
we understand that God has called us to do certain work, we will be faithful to
that calling and understand the purpose of our work.
Budi adalah seorang manager di sebuah perusahaan sendok di Jakarta.
Karena posisinya yang cukup tinggi, ada begitu banyak hal yang harus di kerjakan
setiap harinya. Setiap hari dia di tuntut untuk bekerja dari jam 6 pagi sampai
jam 8 malem. Di dalam keluarganya Budi memiliki seorang istri dan dua orang anak.
Dengan melihat keadaan ini, apakah Budi bisa di kategorikan sebagai seorang
workaholic? Apa yang kita lakukan apabila kita ada dalam posisi dia?
Tono adalah seorang Kristen yang baik. Dia bekerja sebagai seorang
engineer di sebuah perusahaan sumpit di Kalimantan. Di tempat kerjanya ada
begitu banyak benefit yang dia terima, seperti: asuransi kesehatan, asuransi
kecelakaan, bantuan sekolah untuk keluarga pekerja, dll. Di tempat kerjanya Tono
sangat di sukai oleh teman-teman sekerjanya. Dia juga memiliki hubungan yang
sangat baik dengan bosnya. Suatu hari Tono mendapatkan tawaran kerja di pabrik
krupuk dengan gaji yang lebih tinggi. Di tempat yang baru Tono mendapatkan
fasilitas yang sama persis dengan perusahaan sumpit yang lama. Apakah salah
apabila Tono memutuskan untuk pindah kerja ke perusahaan yang baru?