Lesson: Job Satisfaction and the Value of Work
Why is work so important and who are we really working for?
John LaBissoniere, a minister in Tennessee, tells this story:
"It was a beautiful late summer afternoon in 1960 and my dad had
just returned home from work with a recent issue of The Saturday Evening
Post. Opening the magazine he said, 'John, take a look at this.'
He then pointed to an advertisement showing a photo of a shiny, new bicycle.
The caption read, 'Sell just ten subscriptions to The Saturday Evening
Post and receive this beautiful bicycle!'
"Dad then said, 'John, this would be a great opportunity. I'm
sure you could sell these subscriptions.' During the succeeding days
I spent hours canvassing in our neighborhood and beyond in a search
for potential subscribers. With my dad's help I was finally able to
earn my new bicycle.
"From that experience as an 11-year-old boy, I found that much
fulfillment came from working hard to accomplish a goal. Even so, there
were important things I didn't yet understand about work, including
just why is
work so important and for whom are we really working.
"The bicycle I worked to obtain helped me discover a lot about
myself and what it would take to be successful later in the adult world
How about you? What valuable work experiences and habits have you developed?
Share Your Story
Why Is Work So Important?
The Bible explains that work and the values it instills are critical
ingredients in God's long-range plan of character development for every
human being. Through the biblical record, let's learn what God has to
say on this critical subject.
Is God Himself a worker and does He obtain satisfaction from
But Jesus answered them, "My Father has been working until now,
and I have been working."
Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.
So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
When God completed His creation, He was delighted that His efforts produced
exceptionally beautiful results.
When Jesus Christ walked on earth as a human being, did He set
a vigorous example of one who works?
Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent
Me, and to finish His work…"
Christ's work was a consuming passion (John 9:4), yet He did not consider
it burdensome (Matthew 11:30).
Should fulfillment and satisfaction through work be part of the
good life that God desires for everyone?
Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that
his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from
the hand of God.
3 John 2
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just
as your soul prospers.
God wants all people to prosper, thrive and flourish physically, mentally,
emotionally and spiritually.
Was it God's desire that Adam and Eve and their children work
and, as a result, have a rewarding, fruitful life?
Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend
and keep it.
God gave His first humans the opportunity to work to maintain the strikingly
beautiful Garden of Eden and to follow the way of living that would guarantee
their prosperity and contentment.
If God wanted Adam and Eve to have a meaningful, satisfying life,
what went wrong? And what has since gone wrong for much of the human
Genesis 3:17-19, 24
Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your
wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying,
'You shall not eat of it':
"Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it
all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth
for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your
face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it
you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return..."
So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden
of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way
to the tree of life.
Deuteronomy 30:15-16, 19
"See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil,
in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His
ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments,
that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you
in the land which you go to possess…
"I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I
have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore
choose life, that both you and your descendants may live…"
By rejecting God's ways and His laws, humanity has brought a curse on
itself. History shows that most people have struggled in sorrow and distress
and have often found their work to be fruitless and unsatisfactory. For
example, a poll by the Gallup organization found that only about half
of American workers are satisfied with their jobs (Gallup.com, Aug. 21,
The apostle John explains that there is a petulant thief in our midst
who works hard to obscure and impede the only real path to an abundant,
meaningful life. He said, "The thief's [Satan's] purpose is to steal and
kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness" (John
10:10, New Living Translation).
The systems, methods and practices of this age and society are not of
God's formation or design (Revelation 12:9). The devil has cleverly succeeded
in deceiving "the whole world" to follow his fraudulent way and reject
Who Are We Really Working For?
How can we counteract our society's often sour attitudes toward
Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh,
not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing
God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to
men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance;
for you serve the Lord Christ.
The apostle Paul gave these instructions to Christians who were in bondage
as slaves, but the principles also apply to actions in our own particular
work environment. Our work takes on even greater meaning when we recognize
we are not just working for a wage or for our own fulfillment, but we
are working for God.
Indeed, God is our real employer because ultimately, He provides all
of our needs. God told the ancient Israelites in Deuteronomy 8:18, "You
shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to
A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart
the spirit is broken.
If we are working for God, we can bring an attitude of enthusiasm and
cheer to our workplace even if we have a supervisor or fellow workers
who are difficult to work with (1 Peter 2:18-19).
God desires that we find pleasure even in the simplest of tasks
and enjoy the fruit of our labors. But does He also want us to understand
the ultimate great purpose of work?
"And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him
I will give power over the nations..."
…and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory
and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
As incredible as it may seem, we are to prepare now for work and service
as kings and priests in the Kingdom of God with Jesus Christ at His second
coming to earth. See also Luke 19:17, 19, which describes how Jesus will
reward His faithful brethren with authority over cities to serve the citizens
in God's Kingdom.
Does God look very closely at our performance and attitude in
whatever work we do now as an important indication of how we will carry
out our future responsibilities in His coming Kingdom?
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no
work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.
He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who
is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.
Building good work habits and character today can help us prepare for
working and serving in God's impending Kingdom.
But how can we be training for such high positions in God's future government
on the earth if we have spent our careers as, for example, truck drivers,
homemakers, computer technicians or in other professions? Perhaps we won't
use the specific technical skills we learned in those occupations, but
we can certainly apply the positive work habits we developed. These work
habits might include punctuality, determination, reliability, patience,
organization, thoughtfulness, cooperation and teamwork. Learning and applying
these now in this physical life will suit us well in positions in God's
In summary, let us profoundly appreciate God's great ultimate purpose
for work and understand for whom we are really working.
What task or assignment do you dislike most about your job? Consider
the scriptural principles in this lesson. Is there a principle you can
apply to that task to make it more bearable? For example, would considering
that you are growing in character and preparing for greater service in
God's Kingdom help? Would approaching a difficult-to-get-along-with employee
with a smile and cheerfulness help things go more smoothly?
Write down your plan, pray about it and apply it next time you face that
dreaded assignment. You may indeed find that blessings for following God's
way will come!
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Bible and Work from the booklet Managing
Work in Our World from the booklet Is
There Really a Devil?
Making Life Work
FAQ: What is the Kingdom of God?
Will the Kingdom of God Mean for You?
What It Means
to Be a King in the Kingdom of God