Biblical Principals of Work and the Biblical Work Ethic (Part 1)
The Creational Ordinances of God
God has given in the dawn of time three ordinances upon which all of society must build and rest. These ordinances are for mankind and they bring peace and joy into ones life as they are looked upon and are implemented God’s way.
When we see society in history in its greatest struggles, when we read and study nations that have risen to power and fallen we can readily see that the creation ordinances of God were not honored and practiced. In every instance I think you will find these out of balance leading to and causing the demises of many nations throughout history.
In our own struggles of life which we have encountered, if honest with ourselves, we will see that one or more of these basic ordinances were neglected, or the practice of them was in error in our thinking which brought many struggles, depressions and problems in our personal lives. Therefore it is important to learn of these ordinances so we may live in the Kingdom of God in joy peace and righteousness in the Holy Spirit. That is the purpose of this class.
The three creational ordinances which God established at the dawn of history and time are Sabbath and Worship, Marriage and Family, Work and Labor.
1.) Sabbath and Worship - God made the Sabbath for man and not man for the Sabbath. We are to remember his day to set aside a seventh of our time for learning His word so that we may go forward learning what we creatures are to do and give God the praise for all he has taught us and will teach us in His Holy Word concerning: Worship, Marriage and Family
2.) Marriage and the Family - It is only as we honor God on the Sabbath that we learn of God and His design of Marriage and Family ( mutual help, increase of mankind, prevention of uncleanness). Since His word is to be expounded and nothing less than the "whole counsel of God" is to be taught to us then we can learn of marriage as well as other things in the Bible and enhance our worship and adoration of God every Sabbath. Not only on the Sabbath but daily in our lives as we live according to His loving commands.
3.) Work or Labor - Again biblically it is only as we are given the Bible in all its teaching in worship on the sabbath and as we understand marriage that we come to know God’s ordinance and the why’s and wherefores of work and labor.
If any of these ordinances become out of focus and unbalanced in ones life then it will cause problems in that life. An example in this is if you are failing in marriage duties then you will be improperly worshipping and will have be off balance in your labor and work
Selected Scripture From Which the Biblical Work Ethic Is Derived:
Genesis 1:26-28 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Psalms 8:3-9 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever Passeth through the paths of the seas.
Psalms 8:9 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!
Exodus 23:12 Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.
Proverbs 10:4-5 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.
Proverbs 12:11 He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.
Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
Ephesians 6:5-8 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.
Colossians 3:22-25 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.
1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
2 Thessalonians 3:10-15 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. But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.1 Timothy 5:8 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.
The scriptures teach that work is not a result of the fall but is the ordinary call of every human and is established by God at creation. We need to look at work, what it is and what ethics are built around the idea of work and labor. Notice that ... "God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. This teaches us several things:
1.) Fruitfulness is commanded;
2.) Work of replenishment of the earth is demanded;
3.) Subduing the earth and taking dominion is a goal for humanity
The first man prefall Adam was to work dressing the garden, naming the animals and ruling over them. He was is to also propagate the earth with the human race by multiplying, teaching and training his offsrpring to continue work to subdue and take dominion in the earth. Work and labour, not being a a result of the fall, therefore was not a burden but a delight and blessing. It is a good thing being God ordained.
The hardship of labor comes to us as a result of the fall. Thorns and thistles, and the sweats of the brow are post fall hardships as part of the Adamic covenant. However, even in the toils of life God provides for us. This is His established covenant with man. Lamech acknowledged the toil and labor after the fall in his words concerning the birth of , "...he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed". Noah was born and no doubt trained knowing the curse which God pronounced after the fall in Eden Gen 3:17-19 ..."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.."