Work is a large part of our life and a part that God cares about deeply. His wisdom has much to say about our work.
Questions for Small Groups:
To start your group, have everyone share something that God is doing in your life this past week.
A. Work is good- so do good work.
Proverbs 14:23. In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.
Proverbs 27:18. Whoever tends a fig tree will eat its fruit, and he who guards his master will be honored.
1. Does the Bible’s positive view of work surprise you? Why or why not?
2. In Genesis 1 we are told to “fill, subdue, and rule.” Any work that does these things is good and honorable work. Can you see how your work fits into “fill, subdue, and rule?”
3. Are there any jobs that you value above others? Are there jobs that you look down on? How might this reveal an idol in your heart?
B. Work is hard- but don’t be lazy.
Proverbs 6:6-11. Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. 7 Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, 8 she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. 9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, 11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.
4. Because of the Fall of man and the curse upon creation, work is hard, painful, frustrating, and even feels futile. Have you ever felt this way about your work?
5. The ant’s motivation is the good of the community. She is not driven by fear or obligation. Can you identify how your work benefits the community? Does your work fulfill Ephesians 4:28?
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
6. The ant prepares and gathers at the right time. She prioritizes her diligence. How can this principle apply to your work-family-church relationship? In what ways has your busyness in one arena led to “laziness” in another arena of your life?
Ex: Putting in countless hours at work leads to neglecting your family. Or, prioritizing hobbies or leisure has caused you to neglect ministry and church.
Proverbs 22:29. Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.
7. We must also work in response to God’s gifting. The skillful worker stands before kings. Have you been able to see where God has gifted you? How can you use your gifts and passions for the church using it for king Jesus?
For those retired or near retirement: In what ways has God gifted you or given you a passion that he can still use even though you aren’t paid? How can you use this gifting for the church?
C. Work is redeemed- so don’t lose hope.
Proverbs 15:19. The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway.
8. The above verse mentions thorns. Thorns give us an image of the curse (Gen. 3:17-18). In what ways has your work felt cursed? In what ways are you tempted to make your work your identity/ your god?
Galatians 3:13. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—
9. Jesus’ death took the curse for us. He became the curse. This of course applies to our personal salvation, but how does it also apply to our work? How will work in the New Heavens and Earth be different or redeemed?
Matthew 11:28-29. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
10. Jesus is offering us rest. This obviously doesn’t mean physical rest from physical work. It does mean spiritual rest even as we do work. How can Jesus free us from the idolatry of work and thus bring rest to our souls? OR How does Jesus keep us from being crushed by work?
How does Christ allow you to keep your work in its proper place (priorities)?