June 25, 2017

A Philosophy of Work by Haley Dempsey

(Last year I was challenged with the idea of what it means to work hard, and even wrote a blog post about it, but recently I have been thinking about it again in a more specific way. The last few weeks I have been working on an article on the topic for our school news paper  but also wanted to share it with you all in the hopes that it would encourage you and cause a deep reflection on how you are living your own life.)

Have you ever heard someone talk about what it means to work hard or to have a good work ethic? Having a conversation about this topic over the summer prompted me to ask myself two questions. The first was, “What does it mean to work hard?” and the second was, “What should be my motive for the things that I do?” Working hard is often encouraged, but I believe that many of us are still missing the mark. Why? Because we are not working to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

We have often heard this verse, and others similar to it, used to spur us to do our best in all that we do. Some of you reading this may be wondering why it even matters to work hard instead of aiming to just get by. It matters because the Bible says we are to do everything as unto the Lord.

I have struggled with not wanting to do my best in the things that I do, whether it be in my classes, in basketball practice, or at work, and I have failed. I have had to be reminded of Colossians 3:23-24 which says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

What does it mean to work hard? It means to go the extra mile; it means that we do the right thing even when it is inconvenient or no one else is around. Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” We should work as if He has asked us to do those things Himself. These verses I have mentioned do apply to us doing our best in everything, but they can be taken a step further.

We tend to grasp the application of these verses to work hard, but we often miss what our motivation should be for doing this. As fallen human beings we tend to seek our own satisfaction, self-promotion, and prestige in our work, or we do it because we have to. We hear, “Whatever you do, work heartily” but we forget the part that says, “As for the Lord” and “You are serving the Lord Christ.” The reason it is wrong to not work for God’s glory is because when we strive for our own selfish ambitions we rob God of his glory.

Whether you are an athlete on the basketball court, or a student pursuing academic accomplishments, excellence is not the end goal. God requires more of us. Our goal should be to bring God the glory, praise, and honor that is due to him. As Christians, we should be setting an example of excellence because we desire to do all that we do to the honor of our Lord and Savior.

I want to challenge each one of us to do everything as unto Him. Do your homework to the glory of God. Play sports to the glory of God. Yes, even clean toilets to the glory of God. He is our Lord, Creator, and Savior and He deserves everything that we have. Our hearts should be set on not our own will, desires, and pleasures, but on God’s. Let us be a people who seek to please Him.

 

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