What Does the Bible Say About Work?

Dr. Tim AllchinFor Those Seeking Hope2 Comments

This is the first article in our mini-series on biblical wisdom for the workplace.

There is a lot of discussion right now about the future work. We’re regularly hearing about the new capabilities of A.I. and how that will impact the internet, education, jobs, and everyday life.

We’ve also recently experienced a phenomenon called the “Great Resignation” where tens of millions of people quit their jobs in the years following the pandemic. Others have embraced “Quiet Quitting” where they essentially dare an employer to fire them by accomplishing so little on most days they work.

How should we think about work as people of faith? How do we respond to this cultural moment when technology is changing jobs and career satisfaction seems to be at an all-time low?

As counselors, we often get asked questions about work:

·      Would I be happier if I changed careers?

·      What would happen if my employer figures out I can’t keep up any longer?

·      What lessons can I learn to avoid getting fired again?

·      How do I deal with a toxic co-worker?

·      How can I achieve a better work/life balance?

Questions like these shape the counseling conversations around the topic of work, and they deserve a healthy response. This series is going to touch on some of those topics, and today’s article will frame a few key truths that shape a biblical view of work.

Work Was Created by God

When God created the world, He worked for six days and rested on the seventh. While an all-powerful God does not “need” rest, He instituted a pattern for His creation. Our days were to be full of enough purposeful activity that we would need the darkness to sleep and a day to rest.

Consider this description in Genesis 2:1-3 – “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. [2] And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. [3] So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”

Work was always part of God’s design for human flourishing, and God Himself modeled it. When we cease to work, we cease to live out God’s design. That being said, different seasons of life will have different intensity and types of work.

Work Is Necessary and Good

Certainly, the nature of work and the types of work have changed since creation, but we cannot lose sight of the benefits.

Solomon reminds us of this in Ecclesiastes 3:22 – “So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?”

As Solomon examined his mortality, he wisely came to the conclusion that we thrive best when we focus on making a daily difference with our work. We can take satisfaction in what God has given us to do.

Work That Is Lazy Displeases God

Consider also this wisdom from Proverbs 18:9 – “Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.” Failing to take work seriously leads to destructive outcomes, and takes us further away from our God-given purpose.

As a counselor, I have often seen the tragic outcomes and limited opportunities that accompany a life of laziness when it comes to employment. A lazy person won’t receive respect from their co-workers, family members, or sadly even themselves.

In essence, Proverbs teaches that a lazy person destroys their own life, getting little of what they want, because they don’t put in the effort.

Work That Is Good Gets Noticed and Rewarded

Proverbs 22:29 says – “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; -he will not stand before obscure men.”

We understand that the best workers at a company rarely face a layoff. Good work gets noticed especially when it goes above and beyond. This is why “quiet quitting” is such an unbiblical concept. Rather than supporting the organization, quitting is an overt act of destruction.

Good work gets noticed, but it doesn’t always come in the timeframe we desire. In counseling, I often challenge workers who are frustrated to better themselves. You can obtain a college level of training on the internet for virtually free these days if you are willing to learn and grow your skills. There is no excuse to stay stagnant and stuck in a low-level job that bores you. Growth is possible and important.

Work Requires Us to Say “No” to Other Things

Proverbs 12:11 says – “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.”

In this verse, we’re reminded that work brings the blessing of provision, and it also requires self-control to avoid unnecessary distractions. Whether distractions come from the workplace or our personal life, we must learn to focus on our work.

Many companies require smartphones to be put away in meetings, and many are requiring employees to come back to the office. We are easily distracted, but God calls us to evaluate our priorities every day, and work is something He wants of us.

Work Receives God’s Blessing

Who do you trust when it comes to your career? Do you trust yourself, a mentor, your college professors, or ultimately the Lord?

Proverbs 16:3 reminds us that we can trust God to bless our work – “Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.”

Does this mean we will never fail? No! Anyone who has had success will also tell you they have experienced failure. However, Proverbs reminds us that God helps us find success in our work. Failure is sometimes part of that, but failure can be a great learning experience that sets up success.

God only requires that we put in the work and trust Him with the results.


When we take a negative attitude towards work, we miss many of the blessings that work can bring us. Without work, life does not get better, it gets pointless.

Even if your work is no longer a vocation, we all have a purpose that was given to us from creation forward, to make a difference with our hands and to be productive members of our family, community, and church. Without work, we won’t be all that God desires us to be.

The rest of this series will continue to challenge you to think biblically about work. We hope it encourages you and results in a renewed commitment to the kind of work that God blesses!

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