Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Biblical Principals of Work and the Biblical Work Ethic (Part 5)

Biblical Principals of Work and the Biblical Work Ethic (Part 5)


Non-work Produces Sinful Results and Effects

Before addresssing some of the sins that come from the affect of being lazy here are a few passages which indicate some of the mindset of those tht break the creational ordinance:

Proverbs 6:6-11 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.Proverbs 10:26 As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.Proverbs 20:4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.Proverbs 26:16 The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason


Non-work, called laziness, produces sinful results and effects. The sin of discontentment and dissatisfaction result from two primary sources- physical and mental. The lazy person becomes sluggish in their mind and body when one does not work. The scriptures in the Biblical wisdom literature of Proverbs and in the practical New Testament letters denounce laziness. Solomon, a wise man, said that sleep to a workingan is sweet (Eccles. 5:12). For one not to work means that one cannot sleep and have the rest there God had intended for him or her. The lazy person does not do work, whether mental or physical, and therefore does not release muscular energy. Therefore, at night the muscles do not relax, rest is not sweet and the lazy person will find themselves tired the next morning and dissastified.

In contrast working expends muscular energy. Since energy is expended during the day the laborer enters in to the night with a sence of accomplishment. In rest the muscles relax, rest becomes sweet and satisfying. This is the difference between a worker being tired but satisfied, and a lazy person being tired but dissastified. Even those who may be shut in and disabled so that they cannot do physical labor can find work satisfying. There can be letter writing, praying, teaching, discipleship training etc. Energy expended, and good sweet sleep are ordered by the Lord.

Laziness brings not only bad physical side effects but also affects man mentally. You will always find a negative view of life around the lazy person. The disobedience of the command to work, the laying aside of this obligation will trigger bad effects and feelings both physically and mentally. If you find that you tend to be lazy please take notethat any effects that are experienced should be a warning for you to be awakened to obey the Lord’s commands concerning work and labor.

2 Thessalonians 3:8-12 Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. 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.

The lazy are volcanoes waiting to explode. When men do not work they become lazy, sluggish and disorderly in their lives. When men do not work they sin and become dissastified with themselves having a negative self-evaluation, with others around and about them becoming "fault-finding", From a lazy person love is not shown to others and love does not cover the sin of anyone. Laziness does not pursue peace. The lazy person is also unhappy with life being very discontented (Phil. 4). Interestingly they become Busybodies pushing themselves onto other people and in other peoples matters for other than the sake of helping the brother or sister in Christ grow in their faith and life.They become disorderly in their own lives and seek to take time from others they "visit" thereby making it difficult for them to keep up their responsibilities. Also there is the gossip that generally is spread due to the "fault-finding gossip". Tensions run high because the people seeking to live godly then must confront the lazy gossiping person. At this point the busybody is finding fault with this one and goes to see someone else if church discipline is not administered. With the sin of breaking the creational oprdinance of work there is multiple sins which the Apostle Paul must be handled in the body as a discipline matter among Christians. Christians that are lazy have a testimony that is tarnished before the non-believing. Lazy busybodies do not study to be quiet, work with their hands, nor mind their own business as they are commanded to do.

Paul says that those that won’t, not can’t work, shouldn’t eat. They are breaking the creational ordinance and command of God and are bringing upon themselves self-inflicted destruction. This can be seen in the disorder of their living schedueles. It is evident that in the life of the lazy person their is need for order and scheduling, a pattern to establish the work / worship discipline. Practically if someone should come into contact with Christians with this sin problem be solution-oriented and seek to help the one overtaken in a fault and help them establish schedules and a patterns to labor and rest biblically.

Laziness and sluggishness leads to other sins such as gossiping and busybody work. Why the gossip and busybody work? This is because they have nothing productive with which they are filling their time with. The lazy become angry and discontented at others. This is because they have been thinking and or talking about others, finding their "little faults, failures and sins’. Here again we understand that sins conquences are more far reaching than just the "room of our own lives".It becomes easy for them to run here and there and "stick their nose in where it does not belong" . With this comes disatisfaction, anger, worry and depression about ones self and the situation they are finding themselves in (due to their own sin).

Christians are called to "bear his own burden". Man must work for God has commanded it. When we do sin and become lazy, the conscience is aroused and the bad or miserable physical feelings arise and awaken us to change. We must, for both the health of both the body and mind, obey the creational ordinance for six days work and one day worship and rest. The effects of obedience are contentment, health, strength and peace in life for the glory of God.

I find it interesting that within the Bible there is no concept of retirement. Work for all me for all time and for all of life is the Biblical call in the creational ordinance. Retirement is not an option for the believer since it is not a Christian concept. If one wants to hold to a retirement concept it must de redefined since it cannot be interrepted as a cessation from work. therefore you may define that retirement time in your life as a change from one field of work focus to another. (Example: Carpenter to security officer, banker to farmer, garbage collector to missionary, etc.) The work / worship pattern is established until the Lord returns.

If there is a time when you no longer work as a carpenter, mason, office worker, C.E.O., etc then you can employee yourself in the work of the church. Even widows over sixty employed in the church (1 Tim. 5). There are always labors to be done: prayer, letter writing, visiting, mission work, newsletter / pamplet production, etc.

When we come in to the New Testament and read the passages concerning work in Colossians and in Ephesians it is easy to formulate what has been known as the Biblical work ethic. To work for any other reason than the work ethic of the Bible is to make work a horrible onerious chore wherein there will be no real enjoyment in the work performed. Any working for a monetary accomplishment only makes work a misery rather than an enjoyment. The work at home, school and office or on a job site will only be enjoyable and pleasant according to how work is viewed and how well one follows and understands the biblical work ethic.

The passages referenced above along with the following passages define the Biblical work Ethic in the 15 points below.

Colossians 3:22-4:1 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; 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. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.



Ephesians 6:5-9 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

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