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A Christian's Work Ethic

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A Christian’s Work Ethic

Rebekah L. Holt

You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently. Ps. 119:4

According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary, ethics are “rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad.”

Christianity offers the foundation of ethics. By becoming familiar with the Bible and what the world teaches as ethics – you’ll find that even the world borrows ground from what God has established.  The teachings of morality, were God’s idea. The differences between good and evil are defined and given meaning in the Bible. Justice, honesty, wisdom, prudence, diligence, integrity, moral conduct, fair dealings, laboring with good work, respecting superiors, structure of rank and leadership, restraint in conduct, etc. – all of these attributes defining an excellent workman are based in God’s moral law and the bedrock of Christianity.

The work place is a Christian’s daily boot-camp for being renewed in the mind of Christ and having to apply Christian ethics. Looking at the reality of some job situations, what can stretch our fortitude? Real dilemmas, difficult co-workers, stressful encounters with the public, personal mistakes, frustrations of “red tape,” low wages for work performed, unjust misunderstandings, management breakdowns, lack of support, having to work with people that don’t have good ethics, fielding complaints, fixing other people’s mistakes, having to do the “dirty work” – the list goes on.   The common response to the on-going of such challenges is demoralization, an apathetic attitude, bitterness, giving up, finding relief in “drinking it off,” a belligerent, complaining spirit and a “me” attitude.  This is consistent with 2 Timothy 3:1-5 concerning the last days: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

God’s standard of ethics are much higher, tried and successful than what the world tries to enforce. As Christians, our lives are to be ruled by Christ’s Holy Spirit. We are not alone in our efforts, though surrounded by a sea of people that don’t usually share our same high standards.  It’s not because we’re “super humans” or can achieve this in our own effort.  Our ability to work with Christ’s ethics is because He enables us through His Spirit to achieve His standard and to even strengthen our areas of weakness. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Eph. 2:20

The Christian should be a “stand out,” a gleaming bright light providing an example of Christ by the way we work and conduct day-to-day business.   “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 5:16

When governed by Christ, we make the best workmen, provide the highest standards of ethics and give the most diligent effort in whatever task presented—because we reflect Christ’s life in application, not just profess it.

The Bible’s Code of Ethics

Here’s a few characters traits that are the definition of a Christian’s ethics according to God’s word:

Hard Working:Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might…” Ec. 9:10

 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Col. 3: 23-24

“The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.” Prov. 10:16

Diligent: Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men. Prov. 22: 29

 “The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labor.” Prov. 12: 24

Just in Business/Wages:A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight.” Prov. 11:1

 “Moreover they reckoned not with the men, into whose hand they delivered the money to be bestowed on workmen: for they dealt faithfully.” 2 Kings 12:15

Not a Man Pleaser: “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.” James 2:9 

“But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.” Col. 3:25 

“For there is no respect of persons with God.” Rom. 2:11

Thankful:  In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  1 Thess. 5:18

Prudent: “Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.” Is. 52:13

 “Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.” Prov. 13:16

Honoring: “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” 1 Peter 2:17

Teachable: “Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.” Prov. 13:18

“Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” Prov. 9:9

“Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.” Prov. 8:33

Circumspect: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Rom. 8:28

Upright: “He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.” Ps. 15:2

Discrete in Conduct: “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.” Prov. 19:11

“I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way…” Ps. 101:2

Careful in Speech:  Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Col. 4:6  

“In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works…sound speech that cannot be condemned.” Titus 2:7

“The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things.” Ps. 12:3

“Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.” Ps. 34:13

“The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.” Prov. 10:32

“Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath…if any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.” James 1:19, 26

Blameless: “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” Titus 2:7-8

Meek:To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.” Titus 3:2

Humble: “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life.” Prov. 22:4

“Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.” Prov. 18:12

Wise: “A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.” Prov. 14:16

 “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Prov. 13:20

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5

Faithful:He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?” Luke 16:10-12

“Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” 1 Cor. 4:2

Equipped by God for the Task:   And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, see, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: and I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee.” Ex. 31:1-6

“As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” Dan. 1:17

“Behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.” 1 Kings 3:12

 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10

Do We Measure Up?

We all fall short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23).  Each one of us in day-to-day serving the Lord do not measure up completely to Christ.  Yet, it’s not an excuse for us to stop allowing the Lord to grow us and stretch us in new ways. Our job is not eternal (we will not always have the same physical job), but the character we build, the works we perform and how we do them do have far reaching, if not eternal value.  Our co-workers need to know we are Christians by our code of actions.  They need to know we are different by the way we work.  Anyone should be able to define what is most important in our lives is Christ by our actions.  There should be evidence that we are for God’s ways that end up being for the very good of our employers. Like Joseph in the Bible, we too can have the favor of unrighteous men in our servitude when we serve them as unto Christ. God can help us to do this. It’s not forgotten. Scripture tells us that God is not unjust to forget our labor.  He also tells us that He preordained the works that we need to accomplish in our life time.  He makes a stream in the desert (Is. 35:6), even if it seems we are stuck off in a desert alone sometimes, trying to survive and get to a fruitful plain.  By living for Christ behind our computer screen or the controls on an excavator or wiping little dirty faces of children, we can trust that we are doing Christ’s work today. 

Stay encouraged. Stay in the Word.  Stay singing His praises. Stay faithful. Stay in prayer. And allow God to work out all the other details—He is faithful!

“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” He. 6:10

“Nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 2 Tim. 1:12

 

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