Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Biblical Principals of Work and the Biblical Work Ethic (Part 2)

Biblical Principals of Work and the Biblical Work Ethic (Part 2)

Work and Labor in Both Old and New Testament

There are example of work and labor all in the scriptures both in the Old and New Testaments.Clear examples of the institution of labor being carried forth early in Genesis as we see Adam’s sons carrying forth the demands of the institution. Cain being a tiller of the ground and Abel being a shepherd. Cain's family developed art Genesis 4:16/ 20-22 And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. ........And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah.

Noah after leaving the ark, began doing gardening, for he planted a vineyard. He was working according to the restated and now enhanced covenant given to him by God. Genesis 9:20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard. Also note that the curse of Ham and the blessing upon Shem and Jepheth both are related to the ordinance of labor (Gen. 9:22-27).

One finds Abraham, Issac, and Jacob as men who carried forth the institution of work and recieved fruit from their labors. The fourth commandment of the Decalogue is seen in light of the institution of work. We are to worship God one day every seven. While in the other six days there is to be work.

Exodus 20:8-11 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

As you move into the New Testament we come to understand even more the heart of the obligation for men to work. The New Testament judges idleness / laziness as impiety and sin. 2 Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. The bible declares that breaking the ordinance of labor or being lazy brings forth all kind of sin.

2 Thessalonians 3:6-11 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; 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.

1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

Not only is the breaking of this ordinance sin but it is even a litmus test regarding ones very salvation. For someone not to work and provide for his family by his actions shows a denial of the faith.

1 Timothy 5:8, 13-16 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...And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some are already turned aside after Satan. If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.Jesus Christ that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

Working is in a large part being godly. Paul’s shows the way of godliness concerning the work ethic toward the family is to labor to takie care of parents, widows and children, " for that is good and acceptable before God (1 Tim.5:4). The ungodly Pharisees and scribes taught a denial of the faith as well as a breaking of the 5th commandment: Mark 7:9-13 "And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

Work is a religious command of God. We are to work to take care of His world, the down and out such as the widows and orphans and our families. He created us to work here and now in this world and in looking ot the future eternal state we will also serve and worship Him. Work was to be a delight. Sin happenned. We can still have delight in our work, and that delight abundantly, as we work doing all to the glory of God in the life Christ came to give us having Christ as our focus. What we do in our work and labors we do is for His glory and the advancement of His kingdom. We are subduing the earth for the Saviour. We are fulfilling the cultural mandate given in Genesis providing for our families and for the needs of others For the glory and honor of God.

God has ordained that there is to be a variety in types of labor.

God created men as a two part being. There is an immaterial part of man and a physical aspect of man. Man has a physical body and a mind. Men created a thinking being are to think, and plan and establish projects. The Lord Jesus used the example of using the mind in the teaching that He provided in the need of counting the cost (planning / thinking ) before building a tower "For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (Lk.14:28)" Once planned men are then to meet those goals through labor. To move things, to clean, to build, etc. is to stretch the muscles using the body. Man was created with muscles and the ability to engage the body in planned labour.
There is an inter-relational order between the different types of labor- mental and physical.. Some men and women work and labor intently with their minds in their vocation. In this type of labor there are the lawyers, teachers, engineers, pastors, corporate leaders, etc. Other men and women labor intently with their hands, backs and minds in doing the practical work of building things as well as carrying forth services that are needed by our society. They are the builders, nurses, mechanics, cooks, policemen, etc. All types of people are needed in our society to build and serve the societial infrastructure. While some work with their hands and back with chemicals, wood, paper, computers, etc. they are also called to work with people that work more with their minds teaching, managing, writing, planning, etc.and vise versa. One type of labor is not better than the other. We all are obligated and responsible, being given the ability and responsibility to work together with people with all types and variety of competiencies. Both are equally important in this world for society and for the good of mankind to build the proper social infrastructure. Each persons competiencies and gifts are given by God for the common good of all mankind, the advancement of the kingdom of God and for the glory of God.


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