This pastoral passage was first written for LRBC on April 17 2016.
There are lots of verses in the book of Proverbs about the value or hard work and the folly of laziness (e.g. 13:4; 22:29; 24:30-34). The most prominent idea concerning ‘work’ that comes through in Proverbs is this: If you want to get ahead in life, you will need to work diligently, and if you don’t want to work, you have no right to be surprised when you find yourself in poverty. Although these kinds of proverbs are correct as far as they are helpful life principles, our thinking on the way we do our work or career should not be defined by these alone.
One writer on this topic that I have read pointed out that the word “career” is not only a noun but is also a verb (action word) – “The car went careering down the mountain and over the cliff.” He said: ‘The desire for excellence in our careers can lead many a Christian to career off track and make a mess of their Christian lives.’ Sometimes there is a risk that we so desire to do well in our jobs that we neglect to also strive for excellence in matters of our faith (this reminds me of stuff from the Pilgrim’s Progress).
I would never advocate being slack in your job for the sake of your faith, but I do think we need to see clearly what we are doing. Will you come to the end of your life and hear Jesus say to you “Well done, good and faithful servant”? (Matthew 25:21). If not, then what must you do so that you may have good confidence that he will?