Christian Work Ethics

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What are Christian work ethics?

Ethics are a collection of values and behaviors people consider moral. Therefore, positive work ethics are the collection of all the values and actions that people feel are appropriate in the work place. A Christian work ethic is one in which work is viewed as a virtuous duty that has been mandated by God both before and after the fall of man. Idleness is viewed as a vice. Because we live in a fallen, sinful world, there will be times that work will involve a degree of strict self-denial. Workers should also receive satisfaction and maintain a spirit of joy. A Christian work ethic requires a commitment to excellence in the task.

Godís thoughts on Christian work ethics:

  • God ordained work and work ethics in the Garden of Eden. Adam was given the commission to till the Garden and name the animals (Genesis 1:27-30; 2:15-20).

  • The 4th Commandment tells us that we shall labor for six days (Exodus 20:8-9).

  • God gives instructions in Leviticus 25:3 for sowing the fields, pruning the vineyards and gathering the crops, assuring the people that if they follow His decrees and carefully obey His laws they will live safely in the land (Leviticus 25:18).

  • The writer of Proverbs refers the sluggard to the ant to learn how to work and store food at harvest so that poverty will not come on us (Proverbs 6:6-11). The same author instructs us to work at whatever our hands find to do in Ecclesiastes 9:10.

  • This work ethic theme carries over into the New Testament as related in the Parable of the Ten Minas (Luke 19:11-27). Don't miss the part where the man did not put his mina to work. His master took it away and gave it to the man who invested his saying; "everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away."

  • Paul teaches to give of ourselves fully to the work of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58), and to "serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men" (Ephesians 6:7).

  • In order to be blameless children of God in a crooked and depraved generation, we must do everything without complaining or arguing (Philippians 2:14). We are to obey our employers by working hard and cheerfully, even when they are not looking (Colossians 3:22-25).

  • Paul continues in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13, calling those who do not work busybodies and adds that they shall not eat, warning us to stay away from them.

  • Paul gives Timothy guidelines by which to teach and he includes providing for oneís relatives as a work ethic. If a man does not provide, especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith (1 Timothy 5:8).

  • A hard working farmer should receive the first share of the crop (2 Timothy 2:6) shows fairness as a component of work ethic.

  • Workers do not talk back to the overseers, nor do they steal from them. Instead, employees show that they can be fully trusted (Titus 2:9-10) adding honesty to the ethic of work.

  • The most positive work ethic comes from 2 Timothy 2:15, 24: "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach and not resentful.Ē


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