Why Do You Labor?

Graphic created by Kriss Szkurlatowski

The purpose of Labor Day involves paying tribute to those who contribute to the social and economic success of a nation. The day also serves to honor the fundamental dignity of all workers.

For many people, labor (work) exists as a necessary evil and a means to an end. We work for money. Yet, the perspective God mean for us to have of work goes so far beyond this basic view of work.

The history and development of labor around the world actually involves Christianity to a great extent. (For more on that topic, check out the article In Celebration of Labor by Chuck Colson.) Let’s do a scripture study of work to help us not only understand this involvement, but also to help us see how God wants us to view work.

What Does the Bible Say About Work?

  1. Hard work helps supply basic needs. (Proverbs 28:19)
  2. All work should be done as though for God. (Ephesians 6:5-9)
  3. Our work for God is never wasted. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
  4. Hard work is honored by God. (Genesis 31:38-42)
  5. Hard work brings rewards. (Proverbs 12:14)
  6. We should use our skills, which are from God, to honor God. (Exodus 36:1)

Not only do these scriptures help us see the heart of God regarding work, but they also can change our attitudes about the work He gives us to do. And as our attitudes change to bring our hearts into alignment with His, the positive impact of our lives as a ministry increases.

Hopefully, knowing that God’s view of work goes well beyond simply a way for our basic needs to be met will transform our approach to work. So what stands in your way of not just viewing work as God view it but also living out what He intended for us in our work?

A Personal Challenge for Labor Day

Consider taking some time this Labor Day to consider how you can apply these scripture to your work. The following questions will help you in this personal challenge.

  1. Are you working only to obtain what is temporary, or does what you work for also hold eternal value?
  2. Are you being faithful where God has placed you, even if the terrain is rough and rocky?
  3. What are your goals and priorities regarding work?
  4. How is your time management (stewardship of your time) with regard to work?
  5. Are you following godly principles when it comes to how you handle work responsibilities? Your coworkers? Your employer? Your choice of occupation?
  6. What goals can you set regarding your work and career?
  7. How does your work ethic and attitude reflect to non-Christians how God views work? How are you representing Him?

DISCUSSION: What changes can you make in how you view and approach labor/work?

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Be determined. Pursue simplicity. Find balance. Be curious. Be deliberate. Be intentional. Age gracefully. Make the most of every opportunity.


September 3, 2012 at 7:23 pm


I grew up poor and on a farm and have know hard work from a young age. We all had jobs outside of the home once past 12 and we would do all the farming after work and on weekends. I learn a good work ethic during this time. Work mattered because it was what supported us.

I have always wanted to work to please God and so that he would be proud of what I do as well as I want to make my family proud. When they see people who work for me I want them to hear good things.

I try to manage my time well both at work and at home to be productive and effective.

I have not set goals to be promoted. I have worked in a manner and with an attitude that my work will take me where ever God wants it too. I have a deep desire to exceed expectations in all I do.

I want my work to reflect well on my God, my family and my peers.

I am thankful that I am healthy and that I have a chance to work and that I have a good job. Thank you God for that.

    September 3, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    What a great testimony about the view of work God wants us to have. Also, it is so much… Almost exactly…. Like my husband's story. Grew up on a farm. Worked outside of home too. Didn't seek promotions, but they came to him because of his work ethic. Thank you for sharing these details of your life.

September 4, 2012 at 10:58 am

Hard work never killed anybody. Ummm…wait a minute…

September 4, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Great post, Kari! The doctrine of vocation is something that is truly life-changing and something that people don't hear nearly enough. Even for those who think they're aware of these things, the questions you pose at the end are very insightful. It's a constant battle to keep these truths active in our lives.

    September 4, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Thanks, Loren. This post was basically from the adult Sunday school lesson this week, and the class really found the topic helpful too. I think it's because our work is something we take for granted so easily that we forget to be intentional about why and how we do it. Because it's a constant battle, we need to be deliberate about it, don't you think?

Mary McCauley
September 4, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Great post Kari….were on the road till Sunday afternoon, keeping America's freight moving…had about 36 hrs at home and are back out here. Right now it is what brings in money and keeps the bills paid, but it also has given me an incredible year as I enjoy the companionship of my partner and get to see God's world. Only God knows the purpose He has for me being out here. But I sure am grateful for work, for love, for God's creation, and for HOME!

    September 4, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    My dad is a long-haul truck driver, so I somewhat understand your perspective. I imagine you are getting a unique perspective you will use in some awesome ways in whatever God has planned for you next. Can't wait to see it all happen.

      Mary McCauley
      September 5, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      I am praying about it. Right now I think God is just giving me a break and a time to enjoy life. For that I am very thankful!

        September 5, 2012 at 9:00 pm

        While I think we tend to forget or neglect it sometimes, God does give us rest times. Not just regular rest that we need weekly, but I think he gives us longer times of rest too even beyond vacations to do something even more special within us. I am glad you are receiving, enjoying and being thankful for that rest.

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