principles of conduct governing an individual or a group
c: a guiding
consciousness of moral importance
3 a set of moral issues or aspects (as
We live in a day when many people are expected to carry
out their career obligations in a manner that meets the expectations of those
who don’t necessarily adhere to or share the same primary basis for the value
system that we, as Christians, may hold to.
Our culture continues to drift further and further
away from a Christian work ethic. Therefore, it is not surprising to find that the current workforce lacks
many people who consistently demonstrate the qualities that are necessary for a
strong, vibrant, and flourishing society.
Of what value is a businessman or employee who doesn’t
think that honesty is important? Which
person would you prefer to hire to work on your house, one that desires to only
do just enough to get by and still be paid or one who is willing to complete
the task to the best of their ability and to your satisfaction? How important
is the attitude of a worker in the discharge of his or her
Do you prefer a nurse who cares for you with
compassion? Do you appreciate the service of a customer service rep, food
server, or flight attendant that is pleasant to talk with and genuinely helpful,
even in stressful situations? Maybe you want to be assured that your attorney,
pastor, or doctor will hold your personal information in absolute
confidentiality. Would you desire to have coworkers who demonstrate
creativity, use carefulness in speech, and put forward maximum effort in their
pursuit of the goals of your organization?
All of these attributes, when displayed by those with
whom we do business, affect our society as a whole. Similarly, we personally
contribute to the success of that society as we practice such characteristics
in our daily lives.
For the Christian, the Bible provides a comprehensive
definition of a Christian work ethic, and displays what that work ethic should
look like. A quick walk through the scriptures reveals what the Christian work
ethic, or our driving value system, should be. Let’s explore what the Bible has
to say concerning how we as Christians should conduct ourselves in the workaday
1. We were created to work.
In Genesis 1:26-28, we see that God created and
commanded man to exercise dominion or rule over the earth and the entire
creation. Then, in Genesis 2:15, God put the man in the garden to “work it and
keep it” and to get his sustenance from it. But in Genesis 3:19, man was informed
that the work necessary to maintain life would be a troublesome task.
2. We should be willing to work.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 – “For even when we were with
you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to
work, let him not eat.”
Proverbs 21:25 – “The desire of the sluggard kills
him, for his hands refuse to labor.”
3. We should be industrious.
2 Thessalonians 3:7 – “For you yourselves know how you
ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you * *
* with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden
to any of you.”
2 Thessalonians 3:11-12 – “For we hear that some among
you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies.”
Proverbs 28:19 – “Whoever works his land will have
plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of
4. We should be self-sufficient.
2 Thessalonians 3:8 – “nor did we eat anyone’s
bread without paying for it”
2 Thessalonians 3:12 – “Now such persons we command
and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn
their own living.”
5. We should patiently encourage others.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 – “And
we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted,
help the weak, be patient with them all.”
6. We should be pleasingly submissive to authority.
Titus 2:9-10 – “Bondservants are to be submissive to
their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not
7. We should be trustworthy.
Titus 2:10 – “not pilfering, but showing all
good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our
8. We should respect the property of others.
Titus 2:10 – “not
pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn
the doctrine of God our Savior.”
Deuteronomy 5:19 – “‘And you shall not steal.’”
9. We should be courteous and avoid being contentious or quarrelsome.
Titus 3:1-2 – “Remind them to be submissive to rulers
and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil
of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show
perfect courtesy toward all people.”
Proverbs 16:28 – “A dishonest man spreads strife,
and a whisperer separates close friends.”
Ephesians 4:31-32 – “Let all bitterness and wrath and
anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all
malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one
another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
10. We should help those in need.
Acts 20:35 – “In all things I have shown you that by
working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of
the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more
blessed to give than to receive.’”
11. We should be competent and skilled in our work.
Proverbs 22:29 – “Do you see a man skillful in his
work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.”
12. Our speech should be truthful and beneficial to others, free from sexual idioms and degrading remarks.
Ephesians 4:25 – “Therefore, having put away
falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor,
for we are members one of another.”
Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no corrupting talk come
out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the
occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
13. We should practice forgiveness.
Ephesians 4:26 – “Be angry and do not sin; do not let
the sun go down on your anger”
14. We should make the teaching of Christ “look good” by how we work.
Titus 2:9-10 – “Bondservants are to be submissive to
their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative,
not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may
adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.”
15. We should know who we’re working for!
Colossians 3:22-24 – “Bondservants, obey in everything
those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as
people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever
you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing
that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You
are serving the Lord Christ.”
Have you ever seen these principals put into action?
I was shocked on my first visit by the difference in
service that I received between a Chick-fil-A restaurant and other fast food
places. The difference is markedly apparent when godly principles are taught
and required by management in the workplace! Yet, only those who are born again
have the power of the indwelling Spirit of God to practice such characteristics
and truly serve the Lord for His glory by serving man.
We don’t all work at Chick-fil-A, but we can let our
light shine where we do work. By weaving these attitudes and actions into the
fabric of our workdays, we will be working in a way that will bring glory to
our Father in heaven. Be sure you
know WHO you are really working for!
 Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s
collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, MA: