The next word in my prayer journal that I chose to be was … Hardworking.
Today I will be hardworking … but why is it important for us to work hard? Scripture gives us many reasons:-
- We will be rewarded in heaven, Proverbs 11:18 “A wicked person earns deceptive wages, but the one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.” In working hard, we are building our treasure for heaven, Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
- Out of gratefulness to God, Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
- For the glory of God,
- For our wealth, Proverbs 10:4-5 “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.”
- To provide for ourselves, Proverbs 6:7-8 “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
- Laziness is akin to destroying in the eyes of the Lord, Proverbs 18:9 “One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.”
- Laziness can lead to other problems, 2 Thessalonians 3:11-12 “We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat.”
- God is always watching us, Revelation 2:2 “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.”
- So as not to be a burden on anyone, 1 Thessalonians 2:9 “Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.”
- To please God, Galatians 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
- We were created by God to be workers. We are made in His image and God is a worker, John 5:17 “But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working” Henceforth, we must be also, Genesis 2:15 “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”
- For our health, “Better to hunt in fields, for health unbought, Than fee the doctor for a nauseous draught. The wise, for cure, on exercise depend; God never made his work, for man to mend.” – John Dryden. Keeping busy can keep us much healthier than if we are to sit around all day doing nothing! “Work is the natural exercise and function of man – the creature who is made in the image of his Creator.” Dorothy L Sayers
- For our development and sanctification
- It is part of God’s great design and in this way, we can appreciate rest, “After work rest is welcome” Peter of Celle. We see in Genesis that God worked hard for 6 days creating the heavens and the earth and on the seventh day he rested. Genesis 2:2-3 “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” The word holy also means to be set apart, God set apart the sabbath day for rest. God designed the week around work and rest. We are to work hard for six days and rest on the seventh. This is an important concept because although hard work is an essential part of being a Christian it must not be allowed to take over our lives as is often the case. Pope John Paul II warned of the dangers of this for priests, but I think we can see this affects more than just the priesthood!! “A constant danger with priests, even zealous priests, is that they become so immersed in the work of the Lord that they neglect the Lord of the work.” It is important to acknowledge Jesus in everything we do and not become consumed by our workload. This can also lead to pride and a sense of importance, never forget, anything you achieve is through Christ alone! By the grace of God, 1 Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”
- We will be examined on our earthly works in heaven, 1 Corinthians 3:13 “their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.”
What does it mean to be hardworking?
- It means working hard in everything you do. This does not relate purely to your paid employment but to everything you undertake to do, Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
- It means helping those who cannot do the work themselves, Acts 20:35 “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” “Let the weaker be helped so that they may not do their work in sadness” – Benedict
- It means working without complaint, Philippians 2:14 “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.” 1 Corinthians 4:12-13 “We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.”
- It means being grateful for the work you have been given and not comparing yourselves with other workers. We have all been in situations where we are working for someone who is less than kind, or we feel we are undervalued in our pay packet, or that others have been given certain perks we are not entitled to, however, this is of no consequence to us as Christians. As Christians we work for Jesus, not man. If we have problems at work, we must take them to Jesus in prayer and not quarrel. Matthew 20:12-15 “These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.” But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous.” Although this is a parable recited by Jesus which relates to access to heaven, I believe we can take from it our duty in our work life also.
- It means accepting any type of work you are called to do. “I must believe no work beneath me, since Jesus was a carpenter for thirty years and Joseph all his life.” Charles de Foucauld. If God himself did not find carpentry beneath Him, then there must be nothing in this world beneath any of us.
Let us not forget that we, ourselves are a work of God, Psalm 139:13-14 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” We must strive to bring glory to God for His works! The amazing epitaph below perfectly sums up God’s will in creation!
Lastly, I will leave you with this quote that I believe is the embodiment of my blog in a sentence!
“Let us work as if success depended upon ourselves alone; but with heartfelt conviction that we are doing nothing and God everything” – Ignatius of Loyola
Let us pray, Father, thank you for making us so wonderfully. Please help us not to forget that we are your creation. That when we doubt ourselves and disparage ourselves that we are only doubting and disparaging you. Help us to see that we are wonderfully made. Help us to work hard at all times for your glory knowing always that it is from you that we find all our strength. In your Mighty and Wonderful Name.
Love and Blessings