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28 Apr 2014

What Expectations From Work Are Appropriate?

The law and the prophets, the gospels and epistles all proclaim that work deserves pay and that the withholding of what is right will bring God’s wrath. Therefore a worker may expect and petition for fair pay. If he sees that his basic commitment is to God, and the fair distribution of resources for all, there are limits to the extent that he may disrupt this purpose in the interest of insisting on his own rights (cf. Prov. 29:18).

In many cases however, the normal laws of sowing and reaping will apply and a person will prosper because of his diligence. Diligence, they say, needs not wish. But in Paul’s case, this was different. He expected that God would favor his “work” and cause it to bring effectual results but for a reason unmentioned, Paul was worried about the result of his work (I Thess. 3:5).

Whether a person can continue to find fulfillment in their work is questionable, unless they see work in terms of God’s requirements and rewards rather than man’s. Usually, this is the interpretation given to service.In contrast to service, the preacher of Ecclesiastes learned to delight in his labor as pleasure, only to realize that the delight was all for nothing, (Eccles. 2:9-11, 18-23). The truth is: we can find fulfillment in our work only when we begin to see work in terms of God’s requirements and rewards. Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs[1] and their effects on motivation in work indicate that it takes a lot to bring a person to fulfillment. Meanwhile, while Abraham Maslow’s theory gets apotheosized, no single theory of his motivation has been universally accepted, but a bearing is evident.

A Christian can always have reason to be proud of his work (Rom. 15:17-20) because it is ordained by God to manifest and fulfill His purpose on earth. The Christian, having done what is his to do, can recognize that since the Lord is in an enterprise, he has not laboureth vainly (I Cor. 15: 58).

Above all, there is great gain in godliness with contentment (I Tim. 6:6-8) because he recognizes the limits of what his labour can produce and enjoys what is his to enjoy through his diligent hand-at-work.

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