George Booker
A New Creation

31. Our Attitude toward Work

“Obey them (masters) not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free” (Eph. 6:6-8).

A “water-tight compartment” division of our life into work — when we just work — and leisure, when we can serve the Truth, is a bad thing. The Truth is not a matter of books and speeches and formal meetings; it concerns our living every hour of every day. For that matter, our best opportunities for preaching the Truth are usually with our fellow workers; it would be very sad if we could only preach to strangers.

Our daily labor takes up quite a large percentage of our time. We should never shirk our duties, even so as to (supposedly) give more time to the “work of the Truth”. Nor should we be “clock-watchers”, only interested in finishing our work as quickly and easily as possible.

The only satisfactory approach to our daily work is to consecrate it to God. Labor was not, in fact, a consequence of the curse; instead, it was a part of God’s blessings for Adam in the perfect world first created (Gen. 2:2,8,15). Most of our Master’s life was spent as a carpenter; later he taught lessons from the tasks of builder, farmer, fisherman, and shepherd for the help of those whose discipleship was mostly to be worked out in such daily toil.

A consecrated attitude toward our work cannot, of course, solve all our problems. The tension never ceases. In practice each must still make new decisions daily about the actual sharing of his time between secular and specifically religious work. But many detailed problems of conduct are solved by the proper attitude.

Such an approach concentrates attention on the job for its own sake, not chiefly as a means to so many dollars and cents, nor even as a matter of duty merely to an employer. He happens to be there, or sometimes not, but our real Master is in heaven, so “eye-service” is ruled out (Eph. 6:6). Certain jobs may not be what we would freely choose, but we can certainly choose the spirit in which we perform them. Such a spirit is in fact a reliable guide to the fitness of any job for a disciple: i.e., Could it be done “as to the Lord”?

Our deliverance from the world still leaves most of us workers in it. Sincerity, conscientiousness, reliability, honesty, and helpfulness will demonstrate our separateness from our fellows in matters of philosophy, and will perhaps earn their respect and attention. Our Master has not set us free from work; but he has set us free from bitterness, false hopes, and wrong and hurtful attitudes.

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