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General Bible Courses > Living by the Book > Career by the Book

Chapter 9: God’s Work, Way, and Results


IN THIS CHAPTER, you will discover:

·   Your responsibilities as an employer or employee.

·   The way God wants His work done.  

AS A RESULT, you will be able to:

·   Reflect Christian attitudes in the five purposes of work.

·   Perform God's work His way.

God’s Work, Way, and Results

Key Scripture: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men" (Col. 3:23).

As reflected in the above Scripture, we are to work at whatever God has established for us to do with all of our hearts; thus we begin to examine our motivations in a practical, applicable manner. In this and following chapters, we will be discussing ways to examine our motivations for our work, how they effect our work, and how they honor, or don't honor, God. Use these analytical tools to probe your workstyle, but be sure to ask the Spirit within to quicken to you those areas that need to be dealt with.

His Work: Your Motives

As you prepare for work each day, imagine that you are going to work for the same reason you go to church to worship and serve Christ. Ask yourself, "As God's coworker, how does my work serve other people and their needs?" Since you are one (or more) important part(s) of the work force (employer, employee, customer), you have certain responsibilities. Listed below are some questions pertaining to the particular responsibilities of an employer and an employee. Answer only those questions that pertain to you.

An employer has the responsibility to serve the needs of the employees. As an employer do you provide:

  • Adequate and appropriate compensation?
  • Proper and fair management?
  • Equitable employment policies?
  • A safe work environment?
  • Appropriate tools, supplies, and equipment?
  • Regard for employees' personal lives?

An employee has the responsibility of meeting the needs of fellow employees and his or her employer. As an employee do you witness to your coworkers and employer as you:

  • Do your own job with excellence?
  • Exhibit a spirit of cooperation?
  • Maintain honesty in all relationships?
  • Act as a dependable, conscientious worker?
  • Put forth your best effort?
  • Give value in exchange for wages?

Listed below are two sets of contrasting motives and attitudes in the workplace.

Consider carefully how these items affect the needs of the employer, the employee, and the customer as they relate to the work environment.

As you can see, each person's attitude and motives can either positively or negatively affect the workplace and everyone connected to it. When motives and attitudes are Christlike, everyone (employer, employee, customer) benefits.

Negative Attitudes   Positive Atitudes
  What Happens When:  
The Employee...    
Cares only about his or her paycheck or commission?   Does his or her best to deliver the company's product or service?
Cheats or lies in order to shield the boss?   Affirms and encourages coworkers?
Undermines coworkers to get ahead?   Speaks up about safety or ethical violations?
The Employer...    
Underpays his or her employees?   Treats subordinates with respect and trust?
Fails to make a profit from the business?   Ensures a safe and healthy work environment?
Violates contracts, agreements, or standards?   Fires a lazy, incompetent employee?
The Customer...    
Fails to pay for a product or service?   Becomes educated about the product or service he or she needs?
Withholds or falsifies required information in contracts and negotiations?   Pays the bills on time?
Doesn't fully explain his or her needs to the vendor?   Offers feedback on the goods or services received?

His Way: Your Workstyle

As you strive for Christlikeness, you will discover that integrity is your most valuable possession a treasure worth paying any price to preserve. That price may be your job, your reputation, or perhaps your savings. Integrity is a value rooted in the very character of God. Therefore, Christians are to be set apart for a special purpose to glorify and honor God in every part of their lives. Peter exhorted believers: "As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ' Be holy, because I am holy'" (1 Peter 1:14-16).

Because your work is an extension of God's work, it has great dignity and value. Therefore, you are to honor God in the workplace as your workstyle reflects His nature. In the book of Titus, the apostle Paul wrote about various aspects of a Christian's workstyle. "Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive" (2:9-10). Consider the personal implications of several principles mentioned in this passage; then answer the following questions.

Authority. Workers are to be subject to their own masters in everything. Look carefully at your attitude and response to the authority structure of your job.

  • Do you obediently carry out instructions and orders from your supervisor?    
  • Are you careful to obey laws, regulations, and standards for your industry?    
  • On your job, have you subtly tried to subvert or undermine the system?

Excellence. Christians are to be well pleasing to their employers.

  • Do you perform your work with competence and excellence?    
  • If you are in a manufacturing or production role, do you take pains to ensure quality craftsmanship?
  • If you are in a service or sales role, do you make every effort to supply value?    
  • Are you concerned with the needs of the customer?    
  • Do you stay on top of new developments and technologies in your industry or profession?    
  • Do you give your employer a full day's work for a full day's pay?

Conflict. You are not to be argumentative. Evaluate your response to conflict on the job.

  • Are you known for being hostile and belligerent if things don't go your way?    
  • Are you able to discuss conflicts in a reasonable manner?    
  • Do you avoid open conflict but get even through subtle, passive aggression?    
  • Are you willing and able to calmly discuss problems?

Integrity. A godly workstyle definitely includes not stealing. Think about your own integrity on the job.

  • Do you steal time from your employer by taking too long for lunch, by calling in sick when healthy, or by loafing instead of working?    
  • Do you use company supplies for personal use, or bill personal long-distance calls to the company?

Reliability. Godly workers show all good faith in their work. This has to do with trustworthiness and reliability.

  • Are you known as a person who keeps their word?    
  • Are you willing to honor commitments of time, money, or participation, even if it proves personally costly?    
  • Can people depend on you to get the job done?  

Performing your job God's way can best be shown by the following acrostic. Each word will be explained in depth.



No Deception


Sexual Fidelity


Honesty. Do not steal or cheat. "The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight" (Prov. 11:1). Some common dishonest practices in the workplace are:

  • Billing personal calls to company phones.
  • Pilfering supplies or materials.
  • Overstating expenses during travel.
  • Over-billing a customer or client.
  • Cheating on income tax.
  • Doing unnecessary work.
  • Accepting payment for work not done.
  • Accepting a "gift" that lowers your standards.
  • Improperly taking a client from a competitor.
  • Violating copyright laws through illegal copying.
  • "Time theft" (tardiness, long breaks, improper sick leave).
  • "Energy theft" (not giving full attention to your job).

Obedience. Obey all legitimate authority such as company policy, a boss direct instruction, or government regulation. "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established" (Rom. 13:1). Several principles involved in obedience are:

We must always obey laws that do not contradict the teaching of Scripture.

We must always obey laws that are clear and unequivocal. By submitting to these laws, we give ourselves an advantage in discerning how to handle laws that are unclear.

In striving to maintain integrity when rules and regulations are unclear, it is important to seek professional as well as biblical wisdom.

In dealing with governmental standards, we should not shrink from exercising our rights as American citizens to press for change and justice.

Some examples of disobedience are:

  • A person who punches the time clock for someone else.
  • A salesperson who fixes prices with competitors.
  • An individual who disregards work schedule or dress code.
  • A pilot who flies longer than federal regulations allow.

No Deception. "The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful" (Prov. 12:22). Decisions concerning integrity should be made before you are ever asked to compromise. Make the decision now to…...

... tell the truth (Prov. 12:19). …

... follow your conscience (Heb. 5:14).

... fulfill your word (James 2:22).

The four most common lies told at work are:

  • Lying when "called on the carpet."
  • Lying to make money.
  • Lying to get a job (i.e., on a résumé).
  • Lying to advance your career.

Encouragement. "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" (Rom. 12:18). Encourage good relationships. Since the workplace is task-oriented, relationships can deteriorate to mere contacts, human resources, and the payroll. But in God's view, relationships are sacred, and Christians should do everything possible to resolve conflicts between coworkers. Several areas that need special attention are:

  • Insults and mistreatment (Prov. 15:1).
  • Injustice (Eph. 4:32).
  • Persecution (Matt. 5:10).
  • Reconciliation (Matt. 5:24).

Sexual Fidelity. "Flee from sexual immorality" (1 Cor. 6:18). The sin of sexual immorality is very serious. Adultery and fornication are prevalent in today's permissive society and can happen to you unless you take steps to avoid such temptation. Doug Sherman suggests eleven ways to "stay dressed for success":

  • Make up your mind that sexual immorality is wrong.
  • Decide that you will fulfill your sexual needs within marriage.
  • Watch out for overwork and emotional exhaustion.
  • Be careful of where your needs for significance are met.
  • Be careful of emotional intimacy at work.
  • Don't flirt with danger.
  • Singles, set high standards for your dating relationships.
  • Safeguard yourself against temptation.
  • Pray that you will maintain your sexual purity.
  • When you face raw temptation, flee!
  • Never forget the consequences of immorality.

Some problem areas are:

  • Flirting.
  • Working a longer week.
  • Suggestive movies and magazines.
  • Traveling too much.
  • Coed nature of the workplace.
  • Failing to have sexual needs met by your spouse.
  • Crossing the line on topics with the opposite sex.

Trustworthiness. Perhaps no issue is more relevant in our society today than integrity or the lack of it. Three important principles for keeping your ethical edge sharp are the following: Be careful what you promise (Matt. 5:33). Commit yourself to excellence of effort rather than excellence of results (Phil. 3:13-14). Use extreme caution in contracts and partnerships (2 Cor. 6:14).

Some problem areas are the following:

  • Foregoing attendance at required meetings.
  • Forgetting promises made to your spouse and/or children.
  • Failing to keep verbal pledges when something better comes along.

His Results: Your Outlook

As a worker you do maintain a measure of control in the work process:

  • You must make decisions
  • You must perform to the best of your ability
  • You must monitor your character and ethics.

Yet the outcome of your work is often out of your control. When you do God's work His way, you must trust Him for the best results. The following acrostic will help you keep your work (and life) in proper perspective:

Thank God for what you have (1 Thess. 5:18).

Remember God's faithfulness to you (Ps. 77:11-12).

Implore God for His help today (Matt. 6:34). 

Accept God's right to direct your life (Hab. 3:16-18).

Leave the future to God (James 4:14-15).

Seek Christlike character more than comfort (Col. 3:1-2).

Life Applications:

A. Recalling Paul's admonition to "set your mind on things above," what would you change in your own attitudes and motives?    

B. Give some examples of how your integrity (or lack of integrity) at work has had a positive or negative influence on your home.    

C. 1. What factors lying outside of your control could prevent you from accomplishing your objectives and fulfilling your expectations?    

    2. Is it hard for you to trust God for the things you cannot control? Why or why not?


Test your knowledge on this chapter by taking the quiz at the end of chapter 12.          

Take the quiz

Quiz Instructions

Please see the Review Questions at the end of Chapter 12.

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