This topic is adapted from the PursueGOD Video YouTube channel.
God is honored by your work when you work hard at what you do.
Work is worthwhile because it reflects God’s mandate to humanity to care for his creation and draw out its latent potential. The Bible teaches that we do that by working hard.
Hard Work Is a Virtue
The apostle Paul set an example of this in his own attitude.
2 Thessalonians 3:7-8 You know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you.
The apostle not only exemplified working hard and pulling his weight, but he also commanded it of others.
2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.” Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living.
Idleness or lack of effort amounts to sponging off of others. It’s up to parents to consider this when teaching their children to develop a good work ethic, and when providing for their older children’s material needs.
Rest From Work
God set up a balance between work and rest. The biblical pattern is: work hard, then rest completely.
Exodus 34:32 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but on the seventh day you must stop working, even during the seasons of plowing and harvest.
Rest is so important that a day of rest each week was required even during the intensive labor of the harvest season. Some people need to know when to get to work. Others need to know when to take a break.
What About Retirement?
Retirement is not about getting out of work. It’s about refocusing work. Even though a person doesn’t have to work for a living any longer, we are still called to be creative and productive (Genesis 1:26-28) rather than idle. But in retirement, we have freedom to labor for other purposes besides just money. We can use our skills and experience to benefit others. Retirement is also an opportunity to do things that advance God’s kingdom.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Read 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12. Why do you think the apostle Paul puts so much emphasis on hard work?
- Do you have a pattern of rest in your life? What do you do to get quality rest from your work?
- “Retirement is not about getting out of work. It’s about refocusing work.” Do you agree or disagree, and why?
- What are some ways that retirees can continue to engage in appropriate, God-honoring labor?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.