Today is Labor Day in the United States, and you might want to consider using it as an opportunity to instruct your children about a biblical view of labor. Here is a quote from famous English author Dorothy Sayers that could serve as an interesting discussion starter:
The only Christian work is good work well done. Let the Church see to it that the workers are Christian people and do their work well, as to God: then all the work will be Christian work, whether it is Church embroidery or sewage-farming.
And here are three main ideas for further study and discussion:
1. Work is a GIFT from God that brings about desired benefits for ourselves and others.
- God Himself works, and His work brings about great benefits.
Genesis 2:1-2—Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.
- God commanded man to work before sin entered the garden.
Genesis 2:15—The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
- Work is something that distinguishes us as His image bearers.
Exodus 20:9, 11a—Six days you shall labor, and do all your work,…11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth…
- Work is the normal and regular means through which God supplies our daily needs and gives us a certain amount of satisfaction.
Psalm 128:2—You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.
2. God has given each person unique gifts and abilities, and calls us to use these in specific kinds of work and occupations.
1 Corinthians 12:5-6—and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.
- As our children grow and mature into adulthood, God will expect them to use their gifts and abilities in a specific kind of job or occupation—perhaps as a pastor, garbage man, or nurse, or an auto mechanic, banker, or homemaker. Each occupation is important and necessary. And each person should work in the occupation that God has equipped and empowered him to do.
3. All work is to be done with excellence, as for Jesus.
Colossians 3:23-24—Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
Questions to ask your child…
- Is this text addressed only to adults?
- Is this verse specifying certain types of work? For a child or young person, what might your work include?
- What does it mean to work “heartily” at these things?
If you are doing your work as for the Lord, how should that affect the quality of your work?