Working Hard, or Hardly Working?

Have you ever observed someone trying to “slide by” with the minimum amount of effort? In life, whether in school or on the job, you may see people with lots of potential doing the absolute minimum required. They’ve been blessed with the talents, skills, and intelligence required to excel, but they just go through the motions without making that extra effort. Not only is this kind of attitude frustrating to teachers and bosses, it’s frustrating to God.

As Christians setting an example for the rest of the world, we know what the Scriptures say about always putting our best efforts into everything we do. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Colossians 3:23, NIV). Giving anything less than 100 percent is against what God says!  

Now, I’m not talking about holding back because of a lack of confidence—I’m talking about making a decision to avoid any effort, out of laziness. Hard work builds character. Parents can begin teaching their children the value of work early on, so that as they grow older they will internalize this lesson. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).  The best way to do this is by example, because children are always watching what their parents do, whether they admit it or not.

Even in nature, we see living creatures working hard. “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-8). Watching sloths in their natural habitat, we see how slowly they move and how much they sleep. That’s fine for some animals, but not for us. “The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour” (Proverbs 21:25).  

Studying the Scriptures, we see that even God didn’t shy away from work. The book of Genesis tells us that He worked six days to make all of creation, and then rested on the seventh day. In the New Testament, Jesus worked hard for three years during His earthly ministry, despite less than ideal conditions. We all have our bad days when we just can’t seem to get motivated, and it’s fortunate that God’s grace covers us when we make mistakes.

When we see someone paying lip service to something they profess to believe in without following it up with action, we know that doesn’t line up with God’s Word. “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22). The world makes excuses for laziness, but as Believers, we don’t accept the same standards that the world tolerates. When we let God work in us and through us, His Holy Spirit will fill us with a passion for our work that can’t be matched.

Regardless of who we are or where we’re working, remembering Who we’re ultimately working for makes all the difference in the world.  As followers of Christ, we can make a positive difference wherever God places us. The Bible has a stern warning for those who know the truth but fail to act on it. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). Let’s joyfully give God our best!

— Creflo Dollar