A great deal of the problem we have in America in discussing our “work” is that attitudes about work are often grounded in unbiblical myths of various kinds. Take, for example, the myth that our life should involve a period of work, which, if done well, then entitles us to retirement. Where exactly is this notion of retirement found in the Bible? Nowhere. Work was part of God’s original design for all individuals.
Work, whether it involves plumbing a sink or plumbing the depths of the universe, in the hands of a Christian is ministry. Work is an extension of Christ’s ministry and the ministry He called His original disciples to do. This, of course, can involve hundreds of professions.
Keep in mind there are limits to what can be considered legitimate work/ministry. Ministering to prostitutes is legitimate; encouraging their profession is not. Helping people get out of debt by moral means is ministry; helping them make risky investments is not. Being a car salesman can be ministry; selling people things they do not need is not Christian work.
Work is not a secular activity; it is a sacred one ordained by God. Whatever we do, we are to strive for excellence. The old saying goes that our Maker doesn’t make any junk, and He likewise calls us to a high standard of excellence in what we produce.
A code of ethics governs every good profession. Physicians are guided by the Hippocratic Oath, which mandates that they foster healing and life. A doctor who performs abortions therefore stands in violation of this oath. Handy men may not have a specific oath they are sworn to uphold, but they must still work ethically. They cannot, for instance, mislead their customers into thinking small problems are larger than they really are, in order to charge more.
In terms of vocation every Christian has a primary obligation to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. This is “JOB #1”. There are secondary callings we may be called to – being secretaries, businessmen, teachers, lawyers, etc. But they are indeed secondary and are opportunities for us to do JOB #1.
Unlike some of the secondary vocations, the primary one lasts throughout a Christian’s life. There never comes a time when we are not commanded to love God and neighbor with our whole hearts and to do our best to fulfill the Great Commission. Whatever we are involved in we should be asking, “If I do this, this way, am I fulfilling the commandment to love God and my neighbor? Am I helping to make disciples of other people by acting and functioning in this manner?” Job #1 is what every waking hour is to be focused on accomplishing.
For we are fellow workmen [joint promoters, laborers together] with and for God. – 1 Corinthians 3:9 (Amplified Bible)
Can I join you as we both join God in seeking to fulfill JOB #1?