Work: Good or Bad?

“I hate my job!”   How many times have you heard someone say that?  Perhaps they’re expressing frustration with employment that they don’t enjoy.  Then there are those who are basically saying they don’t like work period.

Which brings up a question:  Is work good or bad?

I’m guessing some readers will laugh and answer, “Work is bad, of course!  I wish I never had to do any!”

But to find the truth, we can’t rely solely on popular opinion.  We need to turn to the Bible and find out what God has to say.

Whose Idea Was Work, Anyway?

The first reference to work in the Bible is found in the very first verse:  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

I think we will agree that the process of creating something involves work.  So work is the very first concept mentioned in the Bible.  That gives it a place of prominence, doesn’t it?

And who is doing the work?  God.

Basic question #1:  Does God do bad things?  No, of course not.  So if God is working, work must be good, right?

I can see some of you are still not convinced.  Keep reading.

In the first chapter of Genesis, God creates

  • day and night
  • sky
  • land and sea
  • plants
  • sun, moon, and stars
  • birds and sea creatures
  • livestock and animals

— and each act of creation concludes with the statement, “And God saw that it was good.”

On the sixth day God creates man in His image– and this time God says, “it was very good.”  Mankind is God’s ultimate creation.  We’re God’s favorite!

God’s Gift To Man

And what does God do with this first man, Adam?  “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15).

Basic question #2:  Does God give bad things?  Again, no, of course not.  So if God gave Adam work, it must be good, right?

You see where I’m going with this, don’t you?  You may not like the logic, but you can’t argue with the conclusion:  work is good.  It was God’s idea!

If you look further, you’ll find that the Bible has quite a lot to say about the subject.  Here are just a few verses:

  • “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Colossians 3:23).  In other words, do your best (not your least), because your work is for the Lord.
  • “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).  Be thankful for the job you have.
  • “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.  That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil– this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13).  Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, tells us that God wants us to enjoy our work.
  • “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).  God already has work assignments planned for you, and our work is intended to be a blessing to others.

Caution:  Too Much of a Good Thing…

While work is good, we do need to be cautious not to go to extremes.  While some people may have to be wary of laziness, others may have to guard against workaholism.  I inherited this addiction from my father, and unfortunately it was reinforced by my first pastor when I went to work for the ministry.  They mistakenly taught me that my value and acceptance was based on my performance.  It was many years before I learned that God created me as a human being,not a human doing.

We also have to learn that our identity is in Christ, not in our work.  This can be confusing, because the first question we often ask when meeting someone is, “What do you do?”  My response would be, “I’m a teacher.”  But that is my occupation, not my identification.  What happens when I retire?  If “teacher” is my identity and I’m no longer teaching, have I ceased to exist?  Many men in particular struggle with who they are after retiring, because Western culture places so much emphasis on a man’s identity (and value) being tied in to his work.  As Bible teacher Joyce Meyer says, “Don’t confuse your who with your do.”

A Proper Mindset

It’s important to have the proper mindset towards work.  As a Christian, we need to see that all work is ministry.  Work is not just about meeting our needs.  We work “as for the Lord,” and our work is to bless others as well as ourselves.

I learned this concept as a young Christian while assisting one of my pastors in a Christian coffeehouse outreach.  Pastor Ron would bring his guitar and sing at every meeting.   One of the songs in his repertoire was actually from a children’s album, though I didn’t know it at the time.   The simple message of the song clicked in my mind:

If the Lord makes you a plumber, be a plumber for the Lord.
If the Lord makes you a drummer, be a drummer for the Lord.
For the Lord has need of plumbers, He has need of drummers, too,
Yes, everyone created has a special job to do.

If the Lord makes you a baker, be a baker for the Lord.
If he makes you a caretaker, prune your acres for the Lord.
For the Lord has love for everyone and we should love Him, too,
So let us do with all our might what He would have us do.

If you are an electrician, bend your wires for the Lord.
Or perhaps you will go fishing or change tires for the Lord.
Digging ditches, patching britches, or whatever you may do,
Do it giving Him the glory, He’s done everything for you.

If the Lord sends you to China, go to China for the Lord.
If you sail an ocean liner, sail that liner for the Lord.
You may live in huts or igloos or in houses built in trees,
In a teepee or a mansion do your best the Lord to please.

When you go out babysitting, be a sitter for the Lord.
Things are tough, you feel like quitting, be no quitter for the Lord.
When you’re skating, when you’re dating, when you’re feeling kinda blue,
Please remember every moment that the Lord has need of you.

(You can listen to the song on YouTube here:

That simple song taught me to always see my work as service to the Lord.  Viewing your employment in this way will do much to help you have a positive attitude in all you do. 

Rev. Kenneth W. Hagin, whose father founded Rhema Bible Institute, has a favorite saying, “Every member a minister.”  When you view your job in this way, whatever that job is, it will not be at all difficult to see that work is good!




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1 thought on “Work: Good or Bad?”

  1. Thank you Tim! That was a timely reminder about work! I love to work! I don’t always have a good time while doing it! I am thankful for parents who modeled Godly character concerning a work ethic. I never noticed that the very first words in the Bible were about work! That’s neat! Thank you for posting the song! So awesome!


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