Many of us today who are working so hard are wondering... where does all our money go?.  We seem to be working longer hours only to have less money than we used to for the essentials we need.  Food prices have risen and continue to rise on a weekly basis.  Gas prices at the pump are skyrocketing and are rapidly becoming unaffordable for the average person.  Sometimes it seems that it would be easier just to try and win the lottery rather than work.  Why do we have to work anyway?

Many people have a love/hate relationship with their work.  There are those who would be considered “workaholics” because they thrive on the challenges facing them in their careers.  They spend most of their waking hours thinking about work.  Then at the other extreme there are those who dread getting up in the morning to face yet another day at a company where they feel unappreciated by a seemingly uncaring boss.  Others are somewhere in between.

Where do you fit in?  Are you happy in your current employment situation?  Do you really need to work or are you fortunate enough not to work if you don’t want to?  Many of us love what we do and the people with whom we work.  We can’t imagine not working because our brains are stimulated by the vocation in which we are involved.  We find ourselves with like-minded individuals who are as dedicated as we are in wanting to do a superb job or accomplish a specific goal.  But what about those people who don’t like what they do and are working “just for a paycheck”?  

We’ve all faced the difficulties of working with individuals who would rather be somewhere else other than at the office.  They typically see the glass have empty rather than half full.  Therefore, finding anything positive about the company and the people around them is just impossible.  These individuals can create an environment that is unpleasant and even toxic to those around them.  It’s during these times when some may jokingly or in frustration ask, “Do I really need to work? Can’t I just take a permanent vacation?”

Others consider whether they should even have a career or instead be a stay-at-home parent. Typically, the situation arises when children are born into a relationship and the parents begin questioning if both of them should work outside of the home.  Some parents struggle with this decision because their careers are important to them.  Others feel that it is possible to have a career and raise children at the same time. However, many who would like to focus on raising their children rather than work outside of the home find it problematic to do so in an economy that increasingly requires two incomes just to survive.  Must those who want to stay-at-home to raise their children have to work outside of the home for an employer, as well?

What Does the Bible Say?

According to the Old Testament, God first took Adam and put him to work in the garden of Eden cultivating the land (Genesis 2:15).  It would appear then that the concept of work dates back to the beginning of time on this Earth.  Ephesians 4:28 illustrates the need to work, not only to provide for ourselves, but to provide for others who are in need.   In addition, Matthew 5:16 tells us that we should be a light for others to see our good works and ultimately to glorify God.   As a result of our work, Psalms 128:2 tells us that “when you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.”  Finally, God promises that when we work without a grudging heart, He will bless us (Deuteronomy 15:10).  God has deemed it a requirement to work whether this means being a stay-at-home parent or someone with a job or career.  There is no requirement to work for someone other than God but you are obligated to work if you are able and to assist others who are in need.

God is clear that whether we are working at home raising children or working for an employer, we should work without a grieved heart while being a light to others so that He may be glorified.  If you find yourself in a situation with a co-worker or boss who has a poor attitude, be the light that God wants you to be.    Pray for them and ask God to show them the blessings that come from working with a cheerful heart for Him.   Ask God to let your works be an example for your co-worker or boss so that his or her heart may be changed.  Then, finally, seek God’s guidance and deliverance for protection from a toxic environment until He has had an opportunity to change your co-worker’s or boss’s heart (Psalms 143Colossians 3:23).

Susan J. Calloway Knowles is a Licensed Christian Marriage & Family Therapist and former practicing Family Law Attorney.  She is also a Christian music Songwriter.  Susan’s songs can be found at www.worshipsong.com.  Her website is www.susanknowles.com.

Publication date: October 9, 2012