How To Get The Most Out Of Your Job

Title: How To Get The Most Out Of Your Job

Bible Book: Proverbs 10 : 16-20

Author: Paul E. Brown

Subject: Labor; Work; Dedication



Do you like your job? Some time ago I read an article in which the writer claimed that the majority of adults in this country hate their jobs; they just endure them as a boring, grudging necessity. If that writer was correct, that’s a crying shame but it doesn’t have to be that way. In view of Labor Day being just around the corner, I want to speak this morning on How To Get The Most Out Of Your Job and there are Biblical guidelines for doing exactly that.

There are, I am sure, some types of labor which have a greater potential for job satisfaction than others; but any job that is decent and God-honoring can be, and should be, a positive experience for the one doing it. Of course there are times of drudgery in any job, but those should be the exception, not the rule.

I realize that many of us are retired, but the Biblical principles we’re going to examine apply to us retired people, too, because even though we may not still draw a salary or punch a clock, if we’re physically able we continue to work on various fronts--and some of you who aren’t really physically able work hard anyhow.

How can a person get the most out of his job?

I. Get Right With God

Someone asks, “What does my relation to God have to do with my job?” The answer is, a lot. Proverbs 10:16 says, “The labor of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.” That verse says that if a person is righteous his work is going to enhance his life. Iin other words, the righteous person gets the most out of his work.

The reference there is not to self-righteousness, but to righteousness which God imparts to us and how do we receive that righteousness, that gift of a right standing with God? There’s only one way. 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 says, “...we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” In Galatians 2:16, 21 we read: “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ...for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified....I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”

Then, once we’re saved through repentance and faith in Christ, we are to seek daily righteousness - that is, we’re to strive to be clean and honest, to live by God’s standards for believers. Jesus said, in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

You won’t get the most from your job, or from any other aspect of life, unless or until you get right with God. So, if you’re lost you need to be saved, and if you’re a backslidden Christian, you need to confess your waywardness and make a new start for the Lord.

II. Realize That Work Is Ordained Of God

That has been true from the very beginning of the human race. Before Adam ever sinned, God gave him work to do. Genesis 2:15 says, “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”

It is true, of course, that when man fell into sin, the character of work changed dramatically. After having pronounced punishment upon the serpent, and upon Eve, God then spoke to Adam. In Genesis 3:17-19 we read:

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Clearly, the curse upon the ground which would require man to work exceedingly hard to make a living was a punishment for sin--but it was punishment tempered with mercy. God, in his infinite wisdom, knew that sinful man needed the discipline and restraint that hard work would provide. In the waiting room of a well-known neurological institute these words are framed on the wall: If you are poor, work. If you are rich, work. If you are burdened with seemingly unfair responsibilities, work. If you are happy, continue to work; idleness gives room for doubts and fears. If sorrow overwhelms you, and loved ones seem not true, work. If disappointments come, work. If faith falters and reason fails, just work. When dreams are shattered and hopes seem dead--work, work as if your life were in peril; it really is. No matter what ails you, work. Work faithfully, and work with faith. Work is the greatest material remedy available. Work will cure both mental and physical afflictions.

The greatest reminder that work is ordained of God is the fact that Jesus, the one perfect person who ever walked the face of the earth, was a hard worker. He must have been, because in Mark 6:3 people who knew him referred to him as “the carpenter.“ I have no doubt that Jesus’ hands were rugged and his muscles strong. He no doubt knew how to swing an axe, to drive a nail, to saw timber, and to do the other things necessary in working with wood, and for believers, Christ is not only our Savior, he is also our example. He showed us the dignity and nobility of hard work.

So, don’t feel sorry for yourself because of having to work hard. Don’t kid yourself by imagining that if you had inherited a fortune and didn’t have to work for a living, you’d be better off. You wouldn’t. Work is ordained of God, and when you work hard for a living you’re in step with God’s plan for mankind. Theodore Roosevelt said that “the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

III. Be Sure That You’re In The Right Job

Consider the fact that the Bible, over and over, teaches that God has a plan for each individual’s life. In Jeremiah 18:6 we read, “O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord.

Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.“ A skillful potter shapes the clay to fit a preconceived pattern and Jeremiah was reminded that, even so, God shapes our lives according to a divine plan.

God certainly would not exclude from that plan the one area in which we spend most of our waking hours--namely, our work. So, each of us should ask God’s guidance in finding the specific work he has for us. Ephesians 5:17 declares, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding that the will of the Lord is.” The Bible gives numerous examples of how God calls people to specific tasks. For instance, he called Nehemiah to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. When the Israelites were preparing to build the tabernacle, God called Bezaleel to work with metal, stone, and wood. He called some people in Lebanon to provide timbers for the tabernacle. The list could go on.

There are some occupations to which God does not call anyone. We know that from the simple fact that those occupations involve doing things or selling products which God prohibits. How can anyone live with himself when he makes his livelihood from illegal drugs, abortion, gambling, or alcohol? God only calls people to work that somehow benefits mankind and if it falls into that category, and God has called you to it, then it is noble work, and it’s important regardless of how the world may view it. But be sure it is that kind of work. John Oliver Nelson said, “Almighty God doesn’t call any man or woman to a trivial or unimportant life work. If you can’t see your job as being somehow vital and meaningful to mankind, change it or get out of it.“

Sometimes we fail to appreciate our job and its impact for good simply because we fail to see the big picture. A lot depends on your perspective. A passer-by observed work going on at a construction site. Three men were hauling large stones over to where a building was being erected. The passer- by asked the first worker, “What are you doing?“ The man replied, “I’m hauling stones.“ He asked the second worker, “What are you doing?“ He answered, “I am making a living.“ He asked the third workman, “What are you doing?“ With a gleam of satisfaction in his eye, he said, “I am helping to build a cathedral.“

IV. Keep In Mind The Right Purposes Of Work

A. Support Ourselves

One obvious purpose is to support ourselves. That should be self-evident, but apparently it isn’t to a lot of people. In 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 Paul wrote: For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

If a person is unable to work, for physical or other reasons, that is an entirely different matter, and the Bible treats it as such. However, for a person who could work not to do so, but instead to sponge off of others, is not only a shame and a disgrace--it is a sin in the sight of God, and you and I have no obligation to support a person like that.

B. Support our Families

Another reason a man is to work is to support his family. One of the sternest rebukes in the New Testament is directed to those who fall short in that regard. 1 Timothy 5:8 says, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

Again, if a man is laid up with an injury, or if there is some other clearly providential reason for his not working, that is another matter altogether. But an able-bodied man who has the opportunity to work and support his family had better do it, or he’s going to face some terrible consequences from the hand of God.

C. Support Others

Still another purpose for our work is that we might help those who cannot help themselves. One of God’s instructions for those who have been saved is found in Ephesians 4:28: “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth“--not to him that is lazy and won‘t work or has wasted his substance through riotous living, but to the person who really and truly needs it. For example, little children who are the helpless victims of irresponsible parents--or people with severe disabilities who have no one to care for them. Paul said, in Acts 20:35, “I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye   ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

D. Support God’s Work

Another purpose for work is that we might support the spread of the gospel. God chose the Israelites to be a missionary nation. They were to share God’s truth with the rest of the world. Here’s what Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 8:18: “But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.” In Malachi 3:10 God said, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be  meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” The storehouse in ancient Israel was a center from which distribution was made to meet certain needs. The modern-day counterpart of the Old Testament storehouse is the church, from which we reach out and share the gospel at home and around the world.

1 Corinthians 16:2 says, “Upon the first day of the week let everyone of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”

E. Support Our Witness

Still another reason for our work is to give thereby a Christian witness. The way a man does his work should reflect his commitment to the Savior. What a sorry witness it is for a man who professes to be a Christian to do a sloppy job, or to overcharge, or to not put in his full time. Former President Dwight Eisenhower said: “...the first demand of religion is that he should be a good workman....Church by all means on Sundays--but what is the use of church, if at the very center of life, a man defrauds his neighbor and insults God by poor craftsmanship.” In 1 Corinthians 10:31 we read, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

God expects us to give our best at whatever we do. Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might....” Someone has said that he who works with his hands only is a laborer. He who works with his head and his hands is a craftsman; but he who works with his head, hands, and heart is an artist--and I hasten to add that you don’t have to paint pictures to be an artist. Any man who put himself totally into his work and does an excellent job is an artist, whatever his particular task.

I grew up in the Mississippi Delta where cotton was king. I have often thought of a particular tractor driver that I admired. He worked for one of the large plantation owners. He took care of that tractor as if it were his own, and he took great pride in his work. When he laid off rows in a newly harrowed field, those rows were as straight as an arrow. When he plowed the cotton, at the end of the rows he would wheel that tractor around without missing a beat. He not only did a neat job of plowing, but he covered more ground in a day than any tractor driver I ever saw. So far as I’m concerned, that man was an artist, as sure as the world--because he put not only his head and his hands into his work, he also put his heart into it. Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Every calling is great when greatly pursued.” I was not yet a Christian at that time of my life, and thus never inquired as to whether or not that tractor driver was saved. I hope that he was--he certainly did his work in the way that a Christian should.

What if your employer doesn’t appreciate your extra effort? The answer to that is found in Romans 12:11: “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.“ Ultimately, you are working for Almighty God, not for man.

V. Keep In View The Rewards Of Work Well Done

A. Rewarded With A Sense Of God’s Presence

The great reward, for a Christian, of doing your job to the best of your ability is that it helps you to sense God’s presence in your life. In Haggai 2:4 we read, “ for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts.”

B. Rewarded With A Clear Conscience

Closely related to that, there is the reward of a clear conscience. In Ecclesiastes 5:12 we read, “The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.“

C. Rewarded Eternally For Faithfulness

Further, and of profound importance, there are the eternal rewards which are promised to the Christian who is faithful in serving the Lord and his job, by which he earns a living, is definitely a part of his service for the Lord. Colossians 3:23-24 says, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.“


Several years ago a preacher named Harper Shannon wrote a book entitled Trumpets in the Morning. In that book he described his sense of call and his commitment to the responsibility that God had given him. He said it was like hearing trumpets every morning, wanting to get up and get at it. Do you and I have that kind of attitude toward our work? Do you and I hear trumpets in the morning? (Someone says, “No, preacher, what I hear is more like a fog-horn.“) If we don’t we ought to, and if we’ll follow God’s guidelines for our work, we can.

How so? Be sure that you’re right with God. Recognize that work is ordained of God. Make sure that you‘re in the job to which God has called you. God has a vocational calling for everyone, not just preachers and missionaries. He calls some to be clerks, some to be housewives, some to be mechanics, some to dig ditches or do other hard manual labor, some to be accountants, some secretaries, some bus drivers and the list goes on. The important thing is to be where God wants you. Browning said, “All service ranks the same with God.” Work for the right purposes and remember that God rewards the Christian who is honest and faithful in his work. If you and I will meet those guidelines, then we, too, can hear trumpets in the morning!

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