About Your Job

44Why do people work? The answer seems obvious. Folks work in order to meet their financial and material needs and those of their family. This goes for Christians as well. Didn’t God say that “if anyone is not willing to work, he is not to eat either” (2 Thes. 3:10)?

There are other reasons as well why people have jobs. Some simply find fulfillment in what they do. Working gives them a sense of purpose and brings pleasure.  

There is absolutely nothing wrong with working. God told Adam to work. His job was to cultivate and keep the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:15) and this was before sin ever entered the world! And yes, Scripture does teach that we must provide for those entrusted to our care (1 Tim. 5:8).

So what’s the problem with our jobs?

Let’s ask a different question. In what or who should be our trust be when it comes to our needs? God, of course. Scripture is well-stocked with reminders about trusting God to meet our needs (cf. Mat. 6:31-34). But how can we genuinely do this when we are the ones earning the money, buying the food and paying for our houses?

A stable job and a set income can easily squash our dependence on God. To pray, “Give us today our daily bread” (Mat. 6:11) may even sound silly. Do we really need God to fill our cupboards? Our reliance on job security quickly trumps Christ’s promise of provision.

For George Muller, the man who by faith and prayer housed and fed thousands orphans in 19th century England, having faith and working hard went hand in hand. His views on money and work may seem unrealistic and disconnected from reality, but he deserves a hearing.

Muller suggested that we work, not first of all to supply in our own needs, but in the needs of others. He challenged believers in his day to give their first fruits to the Lord and His people, not the leftovers. His approach could be summarized like this: “Don’t ask yourself: what can I spare? Ask yourself: what does God want me to give? When the paycheck arrives you begin by asking God how to invest His money in His work, before considering your own needs." 

It sounds (almost) crazy.

And what action did he suggest when after giving, it appeared you yourself came up short? What if there were still bills to pay at the end of the month? You got it, exercise faith! Muller would say: “You trust the Lord to do what He has promised to do, namely to take care of you.” He echoed Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”. 

Muller didn’t intend this approach to be an excuse for recklessness and irresponsibility. But he knew very well that the vast majority of God’s people don’t run that risk. Our danger zone is the other end of the spectrum: living a careful, calculated, safe, self-sufficient and no-risk taking kind of life. The life that says that we trust in the Lord to give us what we need, but that in reality finds its security in our paycheck.

Something to ponder.