Work is a blessing, not a curse.Thank God it’s Monday! Bridge the Sunday gap to Monday.Bridge the Sacred and Secular divide.Work is a ministry, not just a job.Work as Worship – work is more than a paycheck.Receive blessings from God and be a blessing at work.Keep an empty seat for Jesus at work – a reminder to invite Jesus to intervene, integrate our faith at work.Take Jesus to work – don’t leave Jesus at home. Don’t lock Jesus outside of your office.Embrace and enjoy our work with God’s 5P blessings – His Presence, Power, Promises, Provisions, Pleasant surprises.
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36: Faithfulness at work (Zephaniah 2:3)

Scripture ReadingZephaniah 2:3

During the exile, people began to re-learn how to work in faithful service to God. Even in the wretched circumstances of the exile, it was still possible to be faithful. But more is possible than simply staying at one’s post, valuable as that may be. We may also find a way to be righteous and humble: “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do his commands; seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the Lord’s wrath” (Zephaniah 2:3).

There are no ideal places of work. Some are deeply challenging to people of God, compromised in all sorts of ways, while others are flawed in more mundane ways. But even in difficult workplaces, we may still be faithful witnesses to God’s purposes, both in the quality of our presence and the quality of our work. Faithfulness is not only a matter of enduring hardship, but of making even the worst situation better in whatever ways we can.

Prayer: Jesus, show me small actions I can take to make my workplace better and be a witness to you there. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read Faithfulness in the Midst of Toil (Habakkuk 2:1; Zephaniah 2:1-4) from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary.


Author: Theology of Work Project

Theology of Work Project Online Materials by Theology of Work Project, Inc. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.theologyofwork.org

You are free to share (to copy, distribute and transmit the work), and remix (to adapt the work) for non-commercial use only, under the condition that you must attribute the work to the Theology of Work Project, Inc., but not in any way that suggests that it endorses you or your use of the work.

© 2014 by the Theology of Work Project, Inc.

Unless otherwise noted, the Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.

35: Idolatry at work (Habakkuk 2:6–20)

Scripture ReadingHabakkuk 2:6–20

Faithfulness is not a superficial matter of uttering praises to God while we work. It is the act of putting God’s priorities first in our work. Habakkuk reminds that “the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him!” (Hab. 2:20). This silence is not merely a religious observation, but a silencing of our own broken ambitions, fears, and motivations, so that the priorities of God’s covenant can become our priorities. Those who exploit others’ vulnerabilities bring judgment on themselves. Work that oppresses or takes advantage of others ultimately brings about its own downfall.

Today we may not be literally crafting idols of precious materials before which we bow down. But work may also be idolatrous if we imagine that we are capable of producing our own salvation. For the essence of idolatry is that “its maker trusts in his own handiwork” (Hab. 2:18, NASB), rather than trusting in God by whose guidance and power we are created to work.

If we are ambitious for power and influence because we think without our wisdom, skill and leadership, our work group, company, organization, or nation is doomed, then our ambition is a form of idolatry. In contrast, if we are ambitious for power and influence so that we can draw others into a network of service in which everyone brings forth God’s gifts for the world, then our ambition is a form of faithfulness. If our response to success is self-congratulation, we are practicing idolatry. If our response is thankfulness, then we are worshiping God. If our reaction to failure is despair, then we are feeling the hollowness of a broken idol, but if our reaction is perseverance, then we are experiencing the saving power of God.

Prayer: Jesus, when I am tempted by the idols of pride and self-sufficiency in my work, help me instead to remember with thanksgiving that I have freely received all gifts from you. Thank you for making fruitful work possible. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read Idolatrous Work (Habakkuk 2:1-20; Zephaniah 1:14-18) from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary.


Author: Theology of Work Project

Theology of Work Project Online Materials by Theology of Work Project, Inc. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.theologyofwork.org

You are free to share (to copy, distribute and transmit the work), and remix (to adapt the work) for non-commercial use only, under the condition that you must attribute the work to the Theology of Work Project, Inc., but not in any way that suggests that it endorses you or your use of the work.

© 2014 by the Theology of Work Project, Inc.

Unless otherwise noted, the Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.

34: Responding to disaster (Nahum 1:3, 12)

Scripture ReadingNahum 1:3,12

Nahum’s chief contribution to the prophetic books is to make it clear that the political and economic disaster that has come to Israel is God’s punishment or disciplining of Israel. This is seen not only in economic woes, but also in environmental problems.

Are contemporary political, economic, and natural disasters punishments from God? There is no shortage of people willing to declare that particular disasters are signs of God’s wrath. Unless we have joined the ranks of the prophets of Israel, we should be very reluctant to declare God’s wrath in the events of the world. Does God himself reveal the reasons for disasters, or do we draw conclusions on our own? Are the modern-day declarers of God’s punishment forged as prophets by years of suffering alongside those afflicted, such as the prophets of ancient Israel?

Prayer: Jesus, in the face of disaster, help me not to draw conclusions about why it’s happening. Help me instead to respond to disaster with love. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read God’s Punishing Hand at Work (Nahum 1:1-12; Habakkuk 3:1-19; Zephaniah 1:1-13) from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary.


Author: Theology of Work Project

Theology of Work Project Online Materials by Theology of Work Project, Inc. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.theologyofwork.org

You are free to share (to copy, distribute and transmit the work), and remix (to adapt the work) for non-commercial use only, under the condition that you must attribute the work to the Theology of Work Project, Inc., but not in any way that suggests that it endorses you or your use of the work.

© 2014 by the Theology of Work Project, Inc.

Unless otherwise noted, the Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.

33: Leadership matters (Micah 2:1–2)

Scripture ReadingMicah 2:1–2

Despite God’s intentions, work is subjected to human sin. The most egregious case is work that is inherently sinful. There are jobs that raise the question: should this job be done at all? We can all think of various examples, no doubt, and Christians would do well to seek work that benefits others and society as a whole.

But Micah calls to account not so much those who feel forced into doing bad work, but the leaders who fail to reform society. In our day, we need God’s wisdom to find effective solutions to current social factors leading to sinful and oppressive work. At the same time, like the prophets of Israel, we need to call individuals to repent of willfully engaging in sinful labor.

Prayer: Jesus, I pray for your wisdom for our leaders, to find effective solutions to dismantle injustice. I also ask that you would show me how I can contribute to justice in the world, through my life and labor. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read Individual & Societal Responsibility for Unjust Work (Micah 1:1-7; 3:1-2; 5:10-15) from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary.


Author: Theology of Work Project

Theology of Work Project Online Materials by Theology of Work Project, Inc. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.theologyofwork.org

You are free to share (to copy, distribute and transmit the work), and remix (to adapt the work) for non-commercial use only, under the condition that you must attribute the work to the Theology of Work Project, Inc., but not in any way that suggests that it endorses you or your use of the work.

© 2014 by the Theology of Work Project, Inc.

Unless otherwise noted, the Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.

32: Responding to God’s call (Jonah 4:1-11)

Scripture ReadingJonah 4:1-11

The Book of Jonah is an outlier among the twelve prophets. It does not take place in Israel. The text gives no indication of its date. It does not contain prophetic oracles, and the focus is not on the people to whom the prophet is sent, but on his own personal experience. Nonetheless, it shares the perspective of the other prophets that God is active in the world.

If we recognize that our own work in God’s service is hobbled by disobedience, resentment, laxity, fear, selfishness or other ailments, Jonah’s experience may be an encouragement to us. Here we have a prophet who may be even more of a failure at faithful service than we are. Yet God accomplishes the fullness of his mission through Jonah’s halting, flawed, intermittent service. By God’s power, our poor service may accomplish everything that God intends.

In light of Jonah’s experience, we might fear that God’s calling will lead us into calamity and hardship. Wouldn’t it be easier to hope God doesn’t call us at all? It is true that responding to God’s call may require great sacrifice and hardship. Yet in Jonah’s case, the hardship arises not from God’s call, but from Jonah’s disobedience to it.

The truth is that God is always working to care for and comfort Jonah. God moves people to compassion for him. Given the extraordinary measures God takes to provide for Jonah when he rejects God’s call, imagine what blessings Jonah might have experienced if he had accepted the call from the beginning. The means to travel, friends ready to risk their lives for him, harmony with the world of nature, shade and shelter, the esteem of people among whom he works, and astounding success in his work—imagine how great a blessing these might have been if Jonah had accepted them as God intended.

Prayer: Jesus, help me accept your grace and respond to your call in my day to day life and work. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read Jonah and God’s Blessing for All Nations from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary.


Author: Theology of Work Project

Theology of Work Project Online Materials by Theology of Work Project, Inc. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.theologyofwork.org

You are free to share (to copy, distribute and transmit the work), and remix (to adapt the work) for non-commercial use only, under the condition that you must attribute the work to the Theology of Work Project, Inc., but not in any way that suggests that it endorses you or your use of the work.

© 2014 by the Theology of Work Project, Inc.

Unless otherwise noted, the Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.

31: God works with us to change the world for better (Obadiah 12, 21)

Scripture ReadingObadiah 1221

The same God who demands change also promises to make change possible. The Minor Prophets carry a fundamental optimism that God is active in the world to change it for the better. Despite the apparent triumph of the wicked, God is ultimately in charge, and “the kingdom shall be the Lord’s” (Obadiah 21).

Despite the calamity the people are bringing upon themselves, God is at work to restore the goodness of life and work that he intended from the beginning. God’s word to his people in times of economic and social hardship is that God’s intent is to restore peace, justice, and prosperity, if the people will live by the precepts of his covenant. The means he will use is the work of his people.

Prayer: Lord, thank you that you are active in the world to change it for the better. I pray your kingdom come and your will be done. Use my work to further your plans for peace, justice, and restoration. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read God Makes Change Possible (Hosea 14:1-9; Amos 9:11-15; Micah 4:1-5; Obadiah 21) from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary.


Author: Theology of Work Project

Theology of Work Project Online Materials by Theology of Work Project, Inc. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.theologyofwork.org

You are free to share (to copy, distribute and transmit the work), and remix (to adapt the work) for non-commercial use only, under the condition that you must attribute the work to the Theology of Work Project, Inc., but not in any way that suggests that it endorses you or your use of the work.

© 2014 by the Theology of Work Project, Inc.

Unless otherwise noted, the Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.

30: Justice at work (Amos 8:4–5; 5:24)

Scripture Reading:

Justice in work is not only an individual matter. People have a responsibility to make sure that everyone in society has access to the resources needed to make a living. Amos criticizes Israel for injustice in this respect, most vividly in an allusion to the law of gleaning. Gleaning is the process of picking up the stray heads of grain that remain in a field after the harvesters have passed through. According to God’s covenant with Israel, farmers were not allowed to glean their own fields, but were to allow poor people (literally “widows and orphans”) to glean them as a way of supporting themselves. This created a rudimentary form of social welfare, based on creating an opportunity for the poor to work (by gleaning the fields) rather than having to beg, steal or starve.

Amos complains that this provision is being violated. Farmers are not leaving the stray grain in their fields for the poor to glean. Instead they offer to sell chaff—the waste left after threshing—to the poor at a ruinous price. Amos accuses them of waiting restlessly for the end of Sabbath so they can carry on selling this cheap, adulterated food product to those who have no other choice. Moreover, they are cheating even those who can afford to buy pure grain, as is evident in rigged balances in the marketplace.

This tells us clearly that justice is not only a matter of criminal law and political expression, but also of economic opportunity. God requires his people—as a daily matter of their walk with him—to love kindness and do justice individually and socially, in every aspect of work and economic life.

Prayer: Lord, help me to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with you, especially at work. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read God’s Justice Includes Work and Economic Justice (Amos 8:1-6, Micah 6:1-16) from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary.


Author: Theology of Work Project

Theology of Work Project Online Materials by Theology of Work Project, Inc. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.theologyofwork.org

You are free to share (to copy, distribute and transmit the work), and remix (to adapt the work) for non-commercial use only, under the condition that you must attribute the work to the Theology of Work Project, Inc., but not in any way that suggests that it endorses you or your use of the work.

© 2014 by the Theology of Work Project, Inc.

Unless otherwise noted, the Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.

29: Choose work that serves God (Joel 2:28–29)

Scripture ReadingJoel 2:28–29

As the prophets in the Bible see it, justice is not merely a secular issue. Good work arises directly from faithfulness to God’s covenant, and conversely, evil work takes us away from the presence of God.

Many otherwise legitimate ways of making a living may become unjust by the way they are performed. Should a photographer take pictures of anything a client asks, without regard for its effect on its subject and viewers? Should a surgeon perform any kind of elective surgery a patient might be willing to pay for? Is a mortgage broker responsible to ensure the ability of a borrower to repay the loan without undue hardship? If our work is a form of service under God, we cannot ignore such questions.

This is a reminder that the world of work does not exist in a vacuum, separated from the rest of life. If we do not ground our values and priorities in God’s covenant, then our lives and work will be ethically and spiritually incoherent. If we do not please God in our work, we cannot please him in our worship.

Prayer: Jesus, I hope to do my work in a way that serves you. May your love ground my values, priorities, and decisions today. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read Working Unjustly (Hosea 4:1-10; Joel 2:28-29) from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary.


Author: Theology of Work Project

Theology of Work Project Online Materials by Theology of Work Project, Inc. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.theologyofwork.org

You are free to share (to copy, distribute and transmit the work), and remix (to adapt the work) for non-commercial use only, under the condition that you must attribute the work to the Theology of Work Project, Inc., but not in any way that suggests that it endorses you or your use of the work.

© 2014 by the Theology of Work Project, Inc.

Unless otherwise noted, the Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.

28: Responding to workplace corruption (Hosea 4:1–3)

Scripture Reading: Hosea 4:1–3

God puts the blame for Israel’s corruption on the people as a whole. To dramatize the situation, God commands the prophet Hosea to “take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord” (Hosea 1:2). Hosea obeys God’s command.

Although the prophets use the imagery of prostitution and adultery, God is accusing Israel of economic and social corruption, not sexual immorality. This makes Hosea’s family situation a dramatic example for those who work in corrupt or imperfect workplaces today. God deliberately put Hosea in a corrupt and difficult family situation. Could it be that God deliberately puts people in corrupt and difficult workplaces today?

While we may seek a comfortable job with a reputable employer in a respectable profession, perhaps we can accomplish far more for God’s kingdom by working in morally compromised places. If you abhor corruption, can you do more to fight it by working as a lawyer in a prestigious firm or as a building inspector in a mafia-dominated city? There are no easy answers, but God’s call to Hosea suggests that making a difference in the world is more important to God than keeping our hands clean. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it in the midst of Nazi control of Germany, “The ultimate question for a responsible man to ask, is not how to extricate himself heroically from the affair, but how the coming generation is to live.”

Prayer: God, show me how I can make a positive difference at work and in the world. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read God Demands Change (Hosea 1:1-9, Micah 2:1-5) from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary.


Author: Theology of Work Project

Theology of Work Project Online Materials by Theology of Work Project, Inc. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.theologyofwork.org

You are free to share (to copy, distribute and transmit the work), and remix (to adapt the work) for non-commercial use only, under the condition that you must attribute the work to the Theology of Work Project, Inc., but not in any way that suggests that it endorses you or your use of the work.

© 2014 by the Theology of Work Project, Inc.

Unless otherwise noted, the Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.

27: Staying close to God in non-Christian settings (Daniel 1:8-14)

Scripture ReadingDaniel 1:8-14

The Book of Daniel begins with a disaster that has ended the Jewish kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has conquered Jerusalem, deposed its king, and taken some of its royals and noble young men captive.

Among the youth taken captive were Daniel and his companions Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The four were chosen for a select program, based on youth, aptitude, and appearance, to enter into training for a leadership position in the kingdom. This presented both an opportunity and a challenge. The opportunity was to make good lives for themselves in a hostile land, and perhaps to bring God’s power and justice to their new country. The prophet Jeremiah was urging the Jewish exiles to do just that.

The challenge Daniel and his colleagues faced was assimilation at the expense of loyalty to God and their people. Nonetheless, Daniel and his colleagues embraced the challenge, secure in the belief that God would protect their faith and loyalty. They enrolled in Babylonian education, but set limits to guard against actual assimilation into the pagan culture of their captors.

Christians in all kinds of workplaces today face pressures akin to what Daniel and his friends experienced at the Babylonian academy. The Book of Daniel provides no specific guidelines, but it suggests some vital perspectives. Christians who work or study in non- or anti-Christian environments should take care to avoid uncritical assimilation into the surrounding culture.

Safeguards include constant prayer and communion with God, firm adherence to material markers of the faith (even if they are somewhat arbitrary), active association and accountability with other Christians in the same kind of work, formation of good relationships with non-believers in your workplace, and adoption of a modest lifestyle, so that attachment to money, prestige or power do not stand in the way of risking your job or career if you are pressured to do something contrary to God’s commands, values or virtues.

Prayer: Lord, help me be rooted in my relationship with you. Give me discernment, that I may be in the world but not “of the world”, especially in how I work. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read In Exile at Babylon U. (Daniel 1) from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary.


Author: Theology of Work Project

Theology of Work Project Online Materials by Theology of Work Project, Inc. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.theologyofwork.org

You are free to share (to copy, distribute and transmit the work), and remix (to adapt the work) for non-commercial use only, under the condition that you must attribute the work to the Theology of Work Project, Inc., but not in any way that suggests that it endorses you or your use of the work.

© 2014 by the Theology of Work Project, Inc.

Unless otherwise noted, the Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.