What is your personal definition of work? Maybe you think of manual labor, earning money, expending energy, training, being sweaty, doing chores around the house, or responsibility. We tend to associate work with something negative. But God has a much different view. He associates work with creating. If work has a negative connotation for you, you need to change how you think about it so you can have God’s positive perspective of work!
In the Beginning
1. What was God’s reaction to the creation He made? Genesis 1:1, 8-10.
In six days, God created everything physical on Earth. When God looked at His creation, He saw that it was good! Creation wasn’t a difficult, unenjoyable task for Him. God enjoyed the process, as well as the results. When God works, He is producing something or making it better. It’s a way of life for Him—He is a Creator.
2. When God made Adam and Eve, what was the first thing He instructed them to do? Verse 28.
After creating them, God immediately gave Adam and Eve a job to do. He gave them dominion over all the Earth. He wanted to show Adam and Eve that they were like Him. We are made in the image and likeness of God (verse 26), and He created us with minds and bodies to work just like He does. God created us to work.
The Sabbath Rest
1. At the end of the creation week, how did God create the Sabbath day? Genesis 2:1-3.
God blessed and sanctified the seventh day of the week by resting from His work. Even when God rested, He was creating.
2. How are we to keep the Sabbath? Exodus 20:8, 10. For whom did God create the Sabbath? Mark 2:27.
God created that rest period for us! He doesn’t need rest, but He created the Sabbath for our benefit. It points us back to creation week, and it is a whole day that He has set apart as holy so we can worship and draw closer to Him.
God commands that we remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. This is the only commandment He specifically tells us to remember because it’s the easiest for men to forget.
3. How are we to keep the other six days of the week? Exodus 20:9, 11.
In the Sabbath command, God also gives direction about how we are to use the other six days of the week. Labor during the other six days. You don’t have to be “employed” to work. Spend your time wisely. Be productive, even if you don’t have a job. It’s OK to relax, but focus on improving and creating something of value during the six days that you labor.
4. What is the unique sign that shows we are God’s people? Ezekiel 20:12.
The Sabbath is a sign between us and God that we are His people. We also show that we are God’s people by how we work. He is training us to be creators. When we work, we honor God, and when we honor the Sabbath, we honor God. Keep the Sabbath day holy—and don’t squander the time God has given us to labor during the other days of the week.
1. Whose example did Paul exhort the Church members to follow? 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12.
Paul wrote that anyone who refused to work shouldn’t eat. In our society, some people believe they have a right to not work. Every one of us should be working and putting forth effort!
Paul and the other ministers worked hard, and Paul admonished God’s people to follow that example. Focus on your work, and follow the positive example you see around you—your boss, your parents and the ministry.
2. What is the attitude God wants us to have regarding our labor? Ecclesiastes 3:22; 9:7-10.
God tells us to enjoy our work! In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon looked back on his life and realized that it was all vanity. Life is not about acquiring things. If you are only working to get things, that’s just vanity. You can’t take it to the grave with you. Being wealthy is of no benefit if it is just handed to you. If we are working with our might, God is building His character in us. It won’t even feel like work if we are excited about the end result.
Work in the Proverbs
1. Why are many people in poverty? Proverbs 10:4-5.
“A slack hand” means being unwilling to work. There are a lot of people who are poor not because of circumstances, but because of a slack hand. Have a strong desire to work!
2. What are the results of laziness? Proverbs 20:13; 28:19; 19:15.
Satan wants you to find pleasure in sleep and inactivity rather than in work. You will have plenty of poverty if you treat work as something you only do when you feel like it.
Being slothful steals energy away from you. The most productive days are those when you get up and immediately start doing something. Working will actually give you more energy! You will sleep better, eat better and feel better.
3. How does a slothful person avoid work? Proverbs 22:13; 26:13-16.
It’s easy to make excuses for why you can’t work: I’m too young; I don’t feel like it; I’m too small; there are no opportunities. If you want to work, seek after it. An employer won’t show up on your doorstep. You have to put in work to even get a job.
Doing the Work
1. Does God view His Work as burdensome? Matthew 11:28-30.
God wants us to see that this Work is a blessing. Everything in this life teaches us about that. Don’t delay work until you’re older. Start as early as you can!
2. Who set the ultimate example of doing the Work? John 4:34.
Christ’s entire focus was to do His Father’s will.
3. What was Christ’s job while He was on this Earth? John 5:17; 9:1-4.
Christ worked—just like His Father! Christ’s entire life was about getting the Work done. God is still working here on this Earth, and He is doing a work through us. We refer to ourselves as God’s workmanship. He is working through us and demonstrating His work in us—if we have a positive attitude about what work is.
Christ knew there would be a time when He would have to stop working. We must continue working right until it’s time for the Work on this Earth to end. God’s Work is not a task we work on for only 40 hours a week—it should encompass our lives!
At the end of Herbert W. Armstrong’s life, he wanted the Church to understand this: We are here to do God’s Work. He went back to this point again and again because the members didn’t get it! Mr. Armstrong knew that too many in the Church were only thinking about themselves and getting their own salvation. We’re called to do a work so that others can get this truth! The Work is not about us.
The Laodiceans didn’t want to do any work, but they wanted to get the bread at the end of the line. Don’t fall into that selfish attitude—stay focused on what the Work is all about.
God wants us focused on this Work because of what it points to; we are preparing for our future in His Family. If you dedicate yourself to this Work, you will be a firstfruit right there at God’s headquarters!
View work the way God does. It’s more than just a four-letter word. Through work, God is teaching us to be like Him. God is creating His character in you, and when you work, you are becoming more like your Father, who is a Creator! Everything in this life is teaching us that. Don’t put off working until you’re older. Get to work, and see how God blesses your effort.