Christian Work Ethic

Christian Work Ethic

Author: Pastor Dave Damschroder
March 01, 2023

From Webster’s Dictionary
eth•ic \'e-thik\ noun
         the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation
      2    a: a set of moral principles: a theory or system of moral values often used in plural but singular or plural in construction.
    b: the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group

    c: a guiding philosophy
    d: a consciousness of moral importance
      3    a set of moral issues or aspects (as rightness)

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 responsibilities?
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 world.

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 poverty.”

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 argumentative”

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 Savior.”

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!



[1] Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.

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