“not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord”
The Bible has much to say about business, work, and labor. Our Father teaches in many passages about the topic to provide understanding to the student and those who love Him. We are to understand business and how to labor in it. The spiritual knowledge and understanding we receive from the Spirit in the Word of God allows us to further appreciate that all things work together for good – even the work we engage in and the business we run or are a part of. In other words, we can work unto the Lord to glorify Him and by doing so gain insight into the life to come.
Business – God’s Idea or Man’s
First, God ordained business. God is a busy God. This is evident in creation and His interaction with man on the earth. The Bible itself is a testimony of His work and labor. God has always been busy and through the Spirit’s teaching the word of God is continuing to work. For instance, Paul writes,
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” (Php. 2:13)
“Whereunto I also labour, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily.” (Col. 1:29)
When you trace the ordinance of business its’ genesis is in Genesis. Adam is straightway told, “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish….” (Gen. 1:28). Adam is told to “till the ground” (Gen. 2:5). In regards to the garden, “to dress it and to keep it” (Gen. 2:15). Shortly thereafter, animals are brought to “Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof” (Gen. 2:19). Therefore, Adam was created to labor with God in God’s business on the earth. Adam was given the “breath of life” (Gen. 1:7) and “made in His image, after His likeness (Gen. 1:26); consequently exhorted and commanded to labor with God in His creation. Therefore, God ordained business and it is reflective of His character.
Choosing A Job
Once the son and daughter of God understands their Father ordained business, it should be understood, as they consider their new identity in Christ, being “dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:11) that working unto the Lord involves godly discretion. Believers are to be discrete between choosing an iniquitous business to that of one that has sinful business practices. It should go noted that although sin takes place within many businesses and these are integral to many business practices, 1) we should not participate in these sinful business practices, but 2) this doesn’t necessarily indicate the overall business is sinful. Wherefore, we must make the distinction between businesses that are sinful and businesses that are not. In other words, some businesses are outright iniquitous, but others are not.
Working unto the Lord
When the son and daughter of God remove themselves for an iniquitous business and begin to labor and work in another field it is important, upon understanding their Father ordained business, to know how their Father works. When we know how God works, we are better edified to manifest Him in our flesh, in our bodies, thus, engage in working unto the Lord.
When the Spirit teaches us how to work in and at our job, there is one word that encapsulates how our Father works and how we ought to follow; that is, diligent. Diligent is the opposite of “slothful”. Diligent is steady in application to business; constant in effort or exertion to accomplish what is undertaken; assiduous; attentive; industrious; not idle or negligent. There is liberty in the proving of God’s will for you to be diligent in business, as far as, to what degree. Nevertheless, diligence is the founding principle of how we work unto the Lord. David taught Solomon how to reign as king in Israel with diligence. This principle was reflective of Solomon’s writings in Proverbs:
He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.
The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.
The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.
Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.
Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.
The sluggard is told to consider the diligence of the “ant” in Proverbs 6:6-8. The Lord warns His servants they will be judged upon their “sloth” (Matt. 25:26). And in Romans, as well as, in Paul’s other epistles we are taught godly diligence. It is this diligence comprised of “not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord” that is part and parcel of the constitution of our “zealous[ness] of good works” (Tit. 2:14).
I, therefore, leave you with a few passages for your study, as well as, for our future consideration.
- Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. (2Co 8:7)
- Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. (Eph 4:28)
- Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him. (Eph 6:5-9)
- Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. (Col 3:22-25)
- And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing. (1Th 4:11-12)
- For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. (2Th 3:10-12)
Do you diligently work unto the Lord, serving Him and not man? Do you work “heartily” unto the Lord at work? And, to what degree to you prove this diligence at work? I pray you do this, the will of God, from the heart unto the Lord and not unto men.
Josh Strelecki, Pastor-Teacher