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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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.

13: Succession planning at work (1 Chronicles 22:5-17)

Scripture Reading1 Chronicles 22:5-17

Because David had shed so much blood as king, God determined not to allow him to build a house for the Lord. Instead David’s son, Solomon, was given that task. So David accepted that his final task was to train Solomon for the job of king and to surround him with a capable team. David provided the vast stores of materials for the construction of God’s temple in Jerusalem. He publicly passed authority to Solomon and made sure that the leaders of Israel acknowledged Solomon as the new king and were prepared to help him succeed.

David recognized that leadership is a responsibility that outlasts one’s own career. In most cases, your work will continue after you have moved on (whether by promotion, retirement, or taking a different job). You have a duty to create the conditions your successor needs to be successful. In David’s preparation for Solomon, we see three elements of succession planning. First, you need to provide the resources your successor needs to complete the tasks you leave unfinished. Second, you need to impart your knowledge and relationships to the person who succeeds you. In many situations this will come by bringing your successor to work alongside you long before you depart. David began including Solomon in the leadership structures and rituals of the kingdom shortly before David’s death.

Third, you need to transfer power decisively to the person who takes over the position. Whether you choose your own successor or whether others make that decision without your input, you still have a choice whether or not to publicly acknowledge the transition and definitively pass on the authority you previously had. Your words and actions will confer either a blessing or a curse on your successor.

What can you do to prepare the work and your successor to thrive, for God’s glory, after you’ve gone?

Prayer: Lord, help me prepare prudently for those who will succeed me in the workplace. May your kingdom continue to advance even when I am no longer in my current position. Thank you that your love and purposes endure beyond my tenure. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read David Prepares Solomon to Succeed Him As King (1 Kings 1; 1 Chronicles 22) 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.

12: Accountability, transparency and integrity at work (2 Kings 12:10–11)

Scripture Reading2 Kings 12:10-11

During the later history of Israel, the priests became corrupt. Instead of using worshippers’ donations to maintain the Temple, they pilfered the money and divided it among themselves. But under the direction of Jehoash, one of the few kings “who did what was right in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 12:2), some priests with integrity devised an effective accounting system. A locked chest with a small hole in the top was installed in the Temple to receive the donations. When it got full, the high priest and the king’s secretary would open the chest together, count the money, and contract with carpenters, builders, masons, and stonecutters to make repairs. This ensured that the money was used for its proper purpose.

The same system is still in use today in places—such as when the cash deposited in automatic teller machines is counted. The principle that even trusted individuals must be subject to verification and accountability is the foundation of good management.

Whenever a person in power—especially the power of handling finances—tries to avoid verification, the organization is in danger. Because 2 Kings includes this episode, we know that God values the work of bank tellers, accountants, auditors, bank regulators, armored car drivers, computer security workers, and others who protect the integrity of finance. It also urges all kinds of leaders to take the lead in setting a personal example of public accountability by inviting others to verify their work.

How can you work with accountability?

Prayer: God, you notice and value work done with integrity, accountability, and transparency. Teach me to do my work with integrity that glorifies you. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read The Southern Kingdom’s March Toward Exile (1 Kings 11:41-2 Kings 25:26; 2 Chronicles 16-36) 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.

11: Ask for wisdom for work (1 Kings 3:5–13)

Scripture Reading1 Kings 3:5-13

Upon succeeding David as king, Solomon faced the vastness of his duties (1 Kings 3:5-15). He was acutely aware that he was inadequate to the task. The work with which he was entrusted was immense. He needed divine help: so he asked God, “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil, for who can govern this, your great people?” (1 Kings 3:9). God answered his prayer and gave him “very great wisdom, discernment and breadth of understanding as vast as the sand on the seashore” (1 Kings 4:29).

Solomon’s first major task was to build the Temple of the Lord. To achieve this architectural feat, Solomon employed professionals from all corners of his kingdom. The massive national effort needed to construct the Temple made Solomon the ruler of a powerful kingdom. During his reign, Israel’s economic might reached its peak, and the kingdom covered more territory than at any other time in Israel’s history. Militarization came into full flower during Solomon’s reign as the military became an essential component of the kingdom’s stability. He completed the centralization of the nation’s government, economic organization, and worship.

We see in Solomon’s story how society depends on the work of myriad people, structures and systems to organize large scale production and distribution. The human capacity to organize work is evidence of our creation in the image of a God who brings order out of chaos on a worldwide scale. Few of us would care to return to Solomon’s methods of organization—conscription, forced labor, and militarization—so we can be thankful that God leads us to fairer, more effective methods today. Perhaps what we can take away from this story is that God is intensely interested in the art of coordinating human work and creativity to accomplish His purposes in the world.

How can you partner with God to accomplish His purposes?

Prayer: Lord, I ask you for wisdom and understanding today for ____(specific project, relationship, role, situation, task)___ in my work. Help me to partner with you and others to accomplish your purposes in the world. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read Solomon Succeeds David as King (1 Kings 1-11) 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.

10: Abuses of power at work (2 Samuel 12:5-9)

Scripture Reading2 Samuel 12:5-9

The Bible regards David as the model king of Israel. Yet even David abused his power and acted faithlessly at times.

The abuse of Bathsheba is ancient, but the issue remains as timely as ever. The story is a familiar one. From his rooftop, David noticed his attractive neighbor, Bathsheba, washing. He sent his men to take her back to the palace, he had sex with her, and she conceived. In an attempt to cover up the pregnancy, he recalled Bathsheba’s husband Uriah from the siege of Rabbah, but Uriah had too much integrity to sleep with his wife while the rest of the army and the ark were camping in tents. After David orchestrated Uriah’s death in battle, he assumed the disaster had been averted. But David didn’t take God into account.

The prophet Nathan indicted David by telling a parable in which a rich man (representing David) “takes” a precious sheep (Bathsheba) from a poor man (Uriah). David plunged himself into this crime after he forgot that God gave him his position of power, and that God cared about what he did with it.

Just as God saw what David did to Bathsheba, so God sees what perpetrators do to sexual abuse victims today. While few of us have as much authority as David did, many of us have power in smaller spheres in family or work contexts. Conversely, many of us are vulnerable to those in power.

Most of us aren’t in situations where confronting a boss or supervisor involves risking our life, but speaking up in these types of contexts can mean losing status, a promotion, or a job. But God calls his people to act as prophets in our churches, schools, businesses, and wherever we work and live.

Can we let the examples of David, Nathan, and Bathsheba embolden us to admit and repent (if we are the perpetrator), to confront (if we are aware of the crime), or to recover (if we are the victim)? In any case the first step is to make the abuse stop. Only when this occurs can we speak of repentance, including accepting guilt, punishment, and if possible, restitution.

Prayer: Lord, Help me to notice when abuses of power are happening. Show me where I need to repent and where I need to speak up. Bring your healing, wholeness, and safety for each person in my workplace. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read David’s Rape of Bathsheba and Murder of Uriah (2 Samuel 11-12) 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.

9: Accountability for leaders (1 Samuel 25:26-34)

Scripture Reading1 Samuel 25:26-34

David had a long and difficult apprenticeship; his rivalry with Saul caused him to flee for his life, eluding Saul while leading a band of brigands in the wildernesses of Judah for ten years. As David’s power grew, he came into conflict with a rich landowner named Nabal.

David sent a delegation to ask Nabal to donate some lambs for a feast for David’s army. Not only did Nabal refuse to give David anything for the feast, he insulted David publicly. David immediately set out with 400 armed men to slay Nabal and kill every male in his household.

Thank God, Nabal’s wise-hearted wife Abigail stepped into the fray. David was moved by her words and abandoned his plan. He even thanked Abigail for diverting him from his recklessness.

People need to hold their leaders accountable as Abigail did, although doing so may come at the cost of great personal risk. You don’t have to have authority status to be called to exercise influence. But you do need courage, which fortunately is something you can receive from God at any time.

In what ways may God be calling you to exercise influence to hold people in positions of higher authority accountable? How can you cultivate a godly attitude of respect along with an unwavering commitment to telling the truth? What courage do you need from God to actually do it?

Prayer: Jesus, help me discern when I need to confront those in authority. Help me do it with courage and godly wisdom. Help me find the right words to say. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read Abigail Defuses a Crisis Between David and Nabal (1 Samuel 25) 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.

8: Creating opportunities for work (Ruth 2:17–19)

Scripture ReadingRuth 2:17-19

The most important way God overcomes barriers to our fruitfulness is through the actions of other people. We see this in the Book of Ruth. The action of the Book of Ruth centers around gleaning, which was one of the most important elements of the Law for the protection of poor and vulnerable people.

Foreigners, widows, and orphans in Israel typically did not receive an inheritance of land, so they were vulnerable to poverty and abuse. The gleaning law gave them the opportunity to provide for themselves. Access to gleaning was to be provided free of charge by every landowner. Gleaning provided an opportunity for productive work for those who otherwise would have to depend on begging, slavery, prostitution or other forms of degradation. Gleaners maintained skills, self-respect, physical conditioning and work habits.

In the case of Boaz, Ruth and Naomi, the laws worked as intended. The process preserved Ruth’s dignity, made use of her skills and abilities, freed her and Naomi from long-term dependency, and made them less vulnerable to exploitation. But Boaz was inspired to go significantly beyond what the law required. The gleaning laws merely required landowners to leave produce. This generally gave the poor and vulnerable difficult, dangerous, uncomfortable work, such as harvesting grain at the weedy edges of fields or high up in olive trees; the produce was usually of inferior quality. But Boaz told his workers to be actively generous. Furthermore, he insisted that Ruth glean in his fields and attach herself to his workers.

In a world in which every nation, every society, has people in need of opportunities for work, how can Christians emulate Boaz? What might God be leading each of us to do to bring his blessing of fruitfulness to other workers and would-be workers?

Prayer: Lord, I want to serve you and others through my work. Show me how I can be fruitful and empower others to be fruitful in their work as well. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read God Calls People to Provide Opportunities for the Poor to Work Productively (Ruth 2:17-23) 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.

7: Women leaders at work (Judges 4:4-5)

Scripture ReadingJudges 4:4-5

The best of the judges, according to the book of Judges, was Deborah. The people recognized her wisdom and came to her for counsel and conflict resolution. The military hierarchy recognized her as supreme commander and only went to war on her personal command. Her governance was so good that “the land had rest for forty years” (Judges 5:31), a rare occurrence at any point in Israel’s history. Alone among the judges, she is called a prophet or prophetess, indicating how closely she resembles Moses and Joshua, to whom God also spoke directly.

Deborah’s service suggests that God does not regard women’s political, judicial, or military leadership as problematic. It is also evident that her husband Lappidoth and her immediate family had no trouble structuring the work of the household so that she had time to “sit under the palm of Deborah” to fulfill her duties when “the Israelites came up to her for judgment” (Judg. 4:5).

Today, in some societies, in many sectors of work, and in certain organizations, women’s leadership has become as un-controversial as Deborah’s was. But in other contemporary cultures, sectors, and organizations, women are not accepted as leaders or are subject to constraints not imposed on men.

Could reflecting on Deborah’s leadership of ancient Israel help Christians today clarify our understanding of God’s intent in these situations? Could we serve our organizations and societies by helping demolish improper obstacles to women’s leadership? Would we personally benefit from seeking women as bosses, mentors, and role models in our work?

Prayer: Lord, guide me as I seek to affirm and support the leadership of women as mentors, bosses, and co-workers. If I harbor any view of women that is not your view, I invite you to transform and renew my mind through your word. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read Deborah: An Ezer Woman Equipped to Lead (Judges 4-5) from the Theology of Work Project article Women Workers in the Old Testament.


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.

6: Land, labor and provision (Joshua 5:11–12)

Scripture ReadingJoshua 5:11-12

There is an inextricable link between land, labor, and provision. The land of Canaan was bountiful by the standards of the Ancient Near East. But the blessings of the land went beyond the favorable climate, abundant water, and other natural benefits. Israel also inherited a well-developed infrastructure from the Canaanites. Even the signature description of the land as “flowing with milk and honey” assumes livestock and beekeeping.

Our ability to produce does not arise solely from our ability or diligence, but also from the resources available to us. But the land does not work itself. As Joshua 5:11-12 says: “On the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land, and the Israelites no longer had manna; they ate the crops of the land of Canaan that year.” Israel survived on the divine gift of manna throughout their wilderness wanderings, but God had no intention of making this a permanent solution to the problem of provision. The land was to be worked. Sufficient resources and fruitful labor were integral elements of the Promised Land.

While God may provide miraculously at times for our physical needs, the norm is for us to subsist on the fruit of our labors. Where are you called to produce? What “land” do you need to work?

Prayer: Lord, you are good. Thank you for miraculous provision. Thank you also for my daily bread and work. I ask you to meet my needs today. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read The Land (Joshua 2-12) 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.

5: Rest and work (Deuteronomy 5:12-14)

Scripture ReadingDeuteronomy 5:12-14

The first part of the fourth commandment calls for ceasing labor one day in seven. On the one hand, this was an incomparable gift to the people of Israel. No other ancient people had the privilege of resting one day in seven. On the other hand, it required an extraordinary trust in God’s provision. Six days of work had to be enough to plant crops, gather the harvest, carry water, spin cloth, and draw sustenance from creation. While Israel rested one day every week, the encircling nations continued to forge swords, feather arrows, and train soldiers. Israel had to trust God not to let a day of rest lead to economic and military catastrophe.

We face the same issue of trust in God’s provision today. If we heed God’s commandment to observe God’s own cycle of work and rest, will we be able to compete in the modern economy? Can we take time to worship God, to pray, and to gather with others for study and encouragement? And if we do, will it make us more or less productive overall? The fourth commandment does not explain how God will make it all work out for us. It simply tells us to rest one day every seven.

Not only must you rest, those who work for you must be given rest. It does not matter what religion they follow or what they may choose to do with the time. They are workers, and God directs us to provide rest for those who work. We may be accustomed to thinking about keeping the Sabbath in order to rest ourselves, but how much thought do we give to rest for those who work to serve us? We have choices as consumers and (in some cases) as employers that affect the hours and conditions of other people’s rest and work.

How can you rest? How can you help others rest?

Prayer: Lord, even you rested. Guide me to healthy, God-honoring rhythms of rest and work in my daily life. Show me how to encourage those who work with me and/or for me to rest as well. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read “Observe the Sabbath Day and Keep It Holy” (Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12) 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.

4: Authority at work (Numbers 12:3)

Scripture ReadingNumbers 12:3

In Numbers 12, Moses’ brother and sister, Aaron and Miriam, tried to launch a revolt against his authority. They appeared to have a reasonable complaint, but in reality, their complaint was merely a pretext to launch a general rebellion with the aim of elevating themselves to positions of power.

God commands us to respect the authority of all leaders. This does not mean that leaders must never be questioned, held accountable, or even replaced. It does mean that whenever we have a grievance against those in legitimate authority, our duty is to discern the ways in which their leadership is a manifestation of God’s authority. We are to respect them for whatever portion of God’s authority they truly bear, even as we seek to correct, limit, or even remove them from power.

Although Moses was both powerful and in the right, he responded to the leadership challenge with gentleness and humility. If we are in positions of authority, we are likely to face opposition as Moses did. We may be offended by opposition and even recognize it as an offense against God’s purpose for us. We may well be in the right if we attempt to defend our position and defeat those who are attacking it. Yet, like Moses, we must care first for the people over whom God has placed us in authority, including those who oppose us. We act for the good of those God has entrusted to us, even at the expense of our comfort, power, prestige, and self-image.

We will know we are fulfilling this duty when we find ourselves advocating for those who oppose us.

Prayer: Lord, it is difficult to lead, and sometimes it is difficult to be led by others. Help me to be humble and discerning; may I both lead wisely and follow wisely in my workplace. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read The Challenge to Moses’ Authority (Numbers 12) 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.