Introduction: What kind of employee should a Christian be? Should
your religious beliefs affect your secular work? If we are a good
worker, does that reflect on our God? Does the Bible give us
practical instruction on our daily work? Should we be part of a labor
union? Let’s get to work on our lesson!

  1. The Christian Employee

    1. Read Colossians 3:22. This text is addressed to “slaves.”
      I doubt that any of the people reading this lesson are
      literal slaves. What reasons should this advice apply to
      employees? What reasons should it not? (The difference
      between an employee and a slave is that the employee can
      quit his job whenever he wants. In addition, the slave
      holder is unlikely to be “firing” his slave. If a slave,
      who cannot be fired should follow this advice, how much
      more should an employee who can be fired? It seems that if
      you do not want to follow the advice for slaves with your
      present employer, you should change jobs.)

      1. If we agree that this is relevant advice to employees
        who want to keep their present job, what does this
        verse teach us about our need for supervision?

        1. Do you work differently when your boss is on

      2. Notice that Paul ties being a good employee not
        simply to winning the favor of the boss, but with
        “sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.”
        What does spirituality have to do with being a
        diligent employee? (Paul believes there is an
        unspecified link between our relationship to God and
        being a good employee.)

    2. Read Colossians 3:23-24. Paul now reveals the link between
      our spirituality and secular work. What is it? (We are to
      consider that God is our employer! We should work just as
      if we were working for God.)

      1. Why is that? (Paul tells us that God will pay us. He
        will reward us with an inheritance.)

        1. Why would God link our secular work to our
          religious obligations? (God must believe that
          the quality of our work reflects upon Him.)

    3. Read Colossians 3:25. Will God punish us if we wrong our

    4. Let’s read Colossians 4:1 to give a balanced view. What
      does God require of employers? (God tells employers that
      they are ultimately responsible to Him, thus they should
      be “right and fair” with their employees.)

  2. Labor Unions

    1. Read Luke 3:14. How would this advice from Jesus relate to
      an employee’s decision on whether or not to join a labor

      1. How would it impact on an employee’s decision to
        strike? (If you accept Paul’s advice in Colossians to
        work as if you were working for God, and you add
        Jesus’ advice to be content with your wages and not
        extort money, I do not see any room for striking.
        Striking, especially violent strikes where the
        employer’s property is damaged and replacement
        workers are terrorized, is extortion.)

      2. Would Jesus’ advice to be “content with our pay” mean
        we cannot change our job? (If you think about Jesus’
        advice to soldiers, He is saying “Don’t supplement
        your pay by shaking people down for money.” That
        would apply to the strike question, but it would not
        seem to prevent us from changing jobs if another
        employer is willing to pay us more.)

    2. Is the advice to work as if we were working for God, and
      the advice to be content with our wages, advice that only
      applies to another age? Is it relevant today? (Because I
      fly quite a bit, when I think of strikes I think of
      Eastern Airlines. It was one of the biggest airlines at
      one time. The striking employees put Eastern out of
      business. Then these employees had no job. What a great
      idea! Unhappy with the amount of your pay? Put your
      employer out of business so you have no pay!)

    3. Jesus’ advice to the soldiers to collect only that amount
      to which they are legally entitled has other applications.
      If you were an employee manager, and you were misleading
      your stockholders about the financial health of your
      company, would you be covered by Jesus’ advice? (Yes.
      While Jesus was referring to taking money by force and
      false accusations, it would logically apply to defrauding
      people by false representations.)

      1. Would Jesus’ advice apply to stealing supplies from
        your employer? Stealing phone time?

      2. If you represent the government, and you take bribes,
        would Jesus advice apply to you?

  3. The Nature of Work

    1. If you won the lottery, or inherited millions, would you
      stop working?

    2. Read Genesis 2:15. This describes a time period before the
      entry of sin into the world. What need did Adam have for
      money or possessions?

      1. Why do you think that in a perfect world, God gave
        Adam a job?

    3. Read Genesis 3:17-19. How did Adam’s work change after the
      entry of sin?

      1. Does this mean that there is an aspect of work that
        is a punishment for our sins?

      2. How long was Adam told he would have to work?

    1. Read Exodus 20:8-10. We always cite this text for the
      positive command to keep the Sabbath holy by not working.
      What other command do we find here? (To work the other six

      1. Does this mean we are required to work six days, or
        does it mean that we have six days in which to get
        our work done. If we get it done in, say, four days,
        would that be fine?

    2. When we studied “Lord of Our Resources,” we considered
      this next story. Read Luke 12:16-21. Jesus’ condemnation
      is found in Luke 12:21 – the man was not rich towards God.
      If you store up resources for retirement, are you not
      being “rich” towards God?

      1. Is there a point in life where we can properly say
        what this farmer said in Luke 12:19?

    3. Read Psalms 92:12-15. What does the Psalmist suggest for
      old age? (Still bear fruit.)

    4. Unless a reader can correct me, in the entire Bible only
      Solomon refers to an old person “enjoying his prosperity.”
      ( Ecclesiastes 6:3&6) I find no example of a follower of
      God simply sitting down and doing nothing. It seems that
      the farmer and his barns story shows us that being idle,
      when we are still physically able to be a blessing to
      others, is selfishness. All of the heroes of the Bible
      died while still pursuing God’s mission for them.

  1. Labor’s Lord

    1. Read Matthew 6:28-34. Let’s focus on verses 32 and 33.
      When Jesus says the “pagans run after all these things,”
      is He speaking of hard work? (He must be.)

      1. If we are supposed to be diligent workers, working as
        if God were our employer, aren’t we required to work
        hard? If so, why is pagan hard work being dismissed?
        ( Matthew 7:33 gives us the balance God seeks. In all
        of our work, we are to seek first God’s will. It
        seems the pagans are seeking money. God promises us
        that if we seek Him first, He will give us what we
        need. We will not need to worry.)

    2. Friend, God gives us a formula for our daily work. Seek
      first to do God’s will. Work as if God were our employer.
      Be honest and content with our wages. If we do these
      things, God calls on us to leave our workplace worries
      behind and simply trust Him for our needs. Will you
      accept God’s work formula for your life?

  2. Next week: Lord of Our Worship.