Why did you start your business? When people ask me that question, I often respond with, “So I could spend more time with my family while providing for them.” Or, “So I could work part-time while recovering for chemo.” Or, “So I can build up a bank account and get back to my plans for seminary.”
They all sounds like noble answers, right?
Well, this morning during my devotions, I read a verse that struck a chord. It was Ephesians 4:28:
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
Ok, so what does that verse have to do with my running a business? Well sure, I am not to steal, or be engaged in dishonest things in business, and yes, it says that we are to give to those in need. But what is the thing that struck a chord and made me realize that that “to provide for my family” is the wrong reason?
I mean, the Bible does tell us that we are to provide. In 1 Timothy 5:8 we read:
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Jesus has told us to provide for our families. So we must. But that is not the ultimate reason we work. As a Christian, saying, “I work to provide for my family” is incomplete and is an unscriptural view of work.
We should work, whether it’s at my business, or at your job at the office, or at your job digging a ditch, because working is the Lord’s will concerning us. The thief is to perform honest work and share with those in need, not because he was a thief, not because it is some sort of punishment, but because it is the Lord’s will for all of us!
Working is the Lord’s will concerning us.
It’s that simple.
As this revelation (one that I am sure I already knew) resounded in my head and my coffee got cold….I remembered 1 Corinthians 10:31:
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
We are to live our entire lives to the glory of God. Work…to the glory of God. Rest… to the glory of God. Eat…to the glory of God. Ride that mountain bike…to the glory of God. Drink that beer…to the glory of God. Dig that ditch…to the glory of God! Post that selfie on Instagram…to the glory of…uh. Well, you get my point.
Everything we do is to be done for God’s glory.
What do most of us actually work for?
When I worked at a regular job, most of my colleagues spoke about working towards retirement, saving for a trip, working for the weekend to go on that mountain biking trip, buying beer, working OT to get that renovation on the house, or buying the Big House to keep up with the Jonses. Unfortunately, many Christians view work in exactly the same way. Many of us are in it for what we get out of it. Unfortunately, I fell in the trap of viewing work as merely a means to an end.
Sure, some of you may argue that we use our work to do things that glorify God. It is true that God may be honored in the results of our work, through tithing, helping the needy…saving so I can go to seminary and become a pastor… even as He may not be supreme in our view of work itself.
Is He supreme in your view of work?
If I am honest with myself, He has not been my ultimate focus in this business. Starting this business may not have been for his glory; but that changes today.
Why do you work?
Ryan Smith blogs at OneChristianDad.com where this first appeared. It is reprinted here with permission.