7 Tips to Make 2020 A Great Year

The beginning of a new year is a great time to reflect on the past year and plan for the year ahead. Whether you are the type to set goals or not, these easy tips will help you ensure that 2020 is your best year yet.

Below are 7 simple tips to help you get the most out of 2020.

1. Use Process Goals

It is great to set goals for what we want to achieve, but I have found it to be much more effective to also set goals related to process. We want to have our larger goals and outcomes in mind, but we can’t forget about what it will take to get there.

For example, if I wanted to publish one article per week this year, I would make a process goal of writing for 25 minutes at least three times per week. That would give me the PROCESS that would help me to achieve the OUTCOME.

2. Use Micro-Habits

Making lasting change can be difficult. But if we put our focus on the right area, we can make true changes that will last.

Micro-habits are tiny commitments that will take very little motivation or effort to complete. They can even be so small that they are almost embarrassing to mention.

Micro-habits are a great way to make small changes that will lead to lasting results.

The idea is that there will be no mental resistance to getting started. Then once the ball is rolling, we can continue past what we planned. Plus if we only do the small commitment, we can move forward guilt free.

Here are some examples:

  • Reading one page of a book before sleeping
  • Writing for ten minutes
  • Running for 10 minutes
  • Praying for one minute
  • Drinking a single glass of water

Each of these can be used to create new habits that can be built on over time.

3. Set and Review Priorities Regularly

If we want to have the best year we can, we must set goals and priorities. Take some time to think about the last year and what you want to be the same and different for this year.

Take time to actually write out your priorities and goals for the next year. Then review them daily for at least a week and then whatever interval is helpful after the first week.

When you review them, make small commitments that can move them forward.

4. Focus on the Next Step

While it is great to keep the bigger picture in mind, when planning your progress, it is best to think about the exact next step you need to take.

Be sure to break larger projects and goals down into smaller more manageable tasks. This way you can identify the exact next step you need to take to move everything forward.

This will help you to keep from getting stuck and keep the ball rolling.

For example, when my goal was to organize the garage, my steps were the following: 1) separate all trash and cardboard, 2) cut up old boxes, 3) put up wall racks for tools, 4) organize tool boxes, 5) organize tool bench, and so on.

You can see that the larger goal of organizing the garage can seem overwhelming, but the smaller steps can be addressed individually to make progress quickly.

5. Strive for Consistency

As you review your goals each day or week, strive to make consistent progress on each of them. You don’t have to finish everything at once, but if you can consistently move things forward, you will stay motivated and will achieve great things.

Whatever you commit to, make it small commitments and focus on one thing at a time. The consistency builds motivation and can keep you going.

Don’t let yourself get bogged down with over-complication. Just keep it simple.

6. Use Sprints to Make Quick Progress

Consider using a hyper-focus on one task or goal you want to accomplish. This is a “sprint” where you focus on one thing intensely for a week or two.

For example, when wanted to finish a video course quickly, I spent all my time on it for a week until it was ready.

Another smaller examples were to create a webinar slide deck. I gave myself one week to have a product ready to go. No matter what, I had to have SOMETHING ready.

My desire to “perfect it” had to come only after the first draft was completed.

7. Talk and Write About It

Two powerful ways to get real commitment from yourself is to write things down and to share them with others. Share your plans with others and talk about your progress.

Writing and talking about what you what to accomplish will help you to gain much needed clarity on your goals and priorities. It also helps you establish what needs to be done next.

Bringing it All Together

These simple tips have helped me to accomplish a lot over the last year. I certainly didn’t always apply them perfectly, but they are always easy to come back to.

Don’t be too hard on yourself this year and don’t let your big goals overwhelm you. If you find yourself off track, just hit reset and get right back to it.

So what will you do to help ensure that you have a great year ahead? What else will help you to focus on having a great year in 2020? Be sure to let me know!

How to Live Out Your Faith in the Workplace (Interview)

The below interview with Dr. Ryan Howard was hosted by Mike Henry, Sr. from Follower Of One. The interview and below post were originally published at FollowerOfOne.org.

Follower Of One is a ministry that seeks to help people follow Jesus in their place of work. Christ-followers with full-time jobs join Follower of One to connect with like-minded believers who encourage, equip and mobilize one another.

Live Out Your Faith

Listen to Dr. Ryan Howard talk about faith in the workplace and how you can learn to live out your faith through it. He’s explored how work has a central role in the life of Christ-followers. Find out how it is a theme all throughout the Bible and how God uses it to accomplish His will.
How can His will help you go to work with a different perspective? Find out in this episode. He has called you to be a light in whatever job He’s placed you in. Choose to be His ambassador today.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:30]   What does it mean to integrate faith in the workplace?
  • [6:22]   Learn the importance of partnering with God in your daily work
  • [10:30] What has God called you to do?
  • [20:11] Learn what’s up and coming at YourFaithAtWork.org
  • [24:47] How to hear from God

Find out how to partner with God in your daily work

To be an ambassador for God day-to-day means that you live out your faith in the workplace. There are so many different callings. You don’t have to be a pastor or missionary to be able to do God’s work. Ryan talks about the importance of partnering with God. It’s not a matter of trying to apply things you’ve simply memorized. It’s an interactive relationship with God where He helps you in everyday things. Listen now to hear examples from the Bible – people who not only prayed and received God’s help but had constant interaction with Him. Find out how God wants to be engaged with you in everything – including your work.

Learn how to join God in the work He’s doing around you

No matter what kind of work you’re involved in, God’s there. He has a specific plan for the relationships you will make and people you’ll influence. Your job is to represent Him and do what He has for you there so that He can be glorified. Ryan’s free downloadable eBook called “21 Days to a New Workplace You” is a jumpstart guide to faith at work. It takes the everyday things we should be doing as Christ-followers and teaches how to infuse those into our work. Listen to how it can change your perspective. You’ll find out how God is at work in every detail of your workday. You simply need to be aware of it.

In addition to the eBook, find out other resources available at YourFaithAtWork.org. Find his podcast on all apps. Ryan is also working on another book, a five-day video series, and webinars. In this episode, find out about these and more and how his ministry can help you grow in your walk with Jesus.

How do I figure out what my anointed calling is?

When you’re doing what you were created to do, it glorifies God. Even if you’re not necessarily talking about Jesus, God can use anything to draw others to Himself. Ryan points out that there’s a lot more to living for God than just talking about Him.

God used the book Anointed for Business to help bring clarity to what He wanted him to pursue. So many others from seminary were going into the pastorate, but he wasn’t drawn toward that. He always felt pulled toward business. Hear more about Ryan’s calling to help people live out their faith in their work. Listen to this episode to hear him talk about anointing for various positions – not only for those in ministry. Find out how your specific job can be used as kingdom work and how God cares about it.

Learn to recognize God and how to integrate your faith in the workplace

It’s easy to get caught up in habits and the way we do our jobs. That itself can become a barrier for us inviting God to be more part of our day. Ryan talks about our need for self-examination. As Christ-followers, evaluating ourselves is important so that we don’t get used to a certain mode of operation. Listen to how you can create new habits. Become sensitive to hearing from God and learn how to develop spiritual disciplines to help you integrate your faith at work. You’ll become more sensitive to what God is already doing.

Prioritize your relationship with Christ. Take the first step of making a small commitment – whether it’s to spend more time in prayer or read one chapter of your Bible daily. Find something you can do consistently and set your mind to stick with it. Learn to build that little habit and it will grow. Listen now to hear more about this. Then you’ll find that the more of God you have, the more you’ll want.

Connect with Dr. Ryan Howard

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Follower Of One

Join us over in our Online Community, get social with us; FacebookInstagramTwitter, and LinkedIn and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Listen to our podcast on your way to work and subscribe using your favorite podcast app!

This post was originally published at FollowerOfOne.org.

4 Lessons from Peter Walking on Water

The Apostle Peter was a man who stumbled, but never failed to follow Jesus. His life was filled with many lessons that can encourage us today and give us hope for our own walk with Christ.

This post will consider 4 specific lessons we can learn from when he walked on water with Jesus in Matthew 14:25-31.

Lesson 1. Peter had great faith

Peter wanted to take the risk. He wanted to walk on the water – it was his idea (Matt. 14:28). He stepped out in faith when Jesus told him to, even though it didn’t make sense to his natural understanding.

What about you? Where do you need to step out in faith? No matter how hard Peter thought about it, he couldn’t have come up with a way that he could walk on water. Sometimes we need to take the step God is calling us to before we can see how it will unfold.

Where are you staying safe in the boat instead of stepping out in faith onto the water?

Lesson 2. Peter’s doubt came from his natural eyes

Peter doubted when he looked at his surroundings and took his eyes off Jesus. It can be far too easy to take our eyes off Jesus and to become consumed with our circumstances.

When we only look at what is around us, we can’t see things the way God sees them. When Peter looked at his surroundings, his faith withered and he began to sink. The same happens with us today. When we keep our eyes on God, we can walk by faith.

What about you? Is there a situation that makes it easy to take your eyes off Christ? The first step is to recognize it and give God time to give you His perspective on things.

Remember, it’s always about Him and His desire to make you more like Christ. He will use it to build His Kingdom and spread His influence.

We may not always see how, so we need to trust Christ. That is what it means to walk by faith.

Lesson 3. Peter turned to Jesus when he started to sink

When Peter sank (failed), he turned to Jesus, not back to the boat (his old way). When we encounter problems, it can be easy to just focus on the situation in front of us or on how our natural self may want to handle something.

When Peter realized what was happening, he reached out to Jesus in desperation. Jesus saved him and He desires to do the same today.

We are safe when we reach out to Jesus for help, but it doesn’t mean everything will be easy or that there will be no problems.

What about you? Where do you need to turn back to Christ for help? Don’t waste time thinking you need to fix something before you turn to Him. Reach out and grab for His hand  – He is ready and waiting for you.

Lesson 4. Jesus helped Peter immediately

Jesus didn’t leave Peter to fend for himself and figure out how to get out of the situation caused by his doubt. When Peter asked Jesus to save him, Jesus immediately reached out His hand and caught him (Matt. 14:31) and will do the same for us today.

Jesus also gave Peter an aspiration when He asked him, “why do you doubt?” (Matt. 14:31). The simplicity of this question from Jesus makes it clear just how unnecessary Peter’s doubt was.

What about you? Where do you doubt? Where can you reach your hand out to Jesus? Just turn to Him and He will help you immediately.

Summing it up

Peter is a great example for us today. He wasn’t perfect and failed more than once, but he always followed Christ. He didn’t let his own shortcomings get in the way or slow him down.

We would do well to walk in the boldness and faith that Peter had. How can you do that today?

Should You Just Let it Go?

What bothers you in your work? Should you just let it go? For many things, we do just need to move on, but there are times when they may deserve more attention. So, how do you know which approach is best?

We need to partner with God for discernment in each situation.

God told Adam in the garden to subdue the earth and have dominion over everything in it. Do you think Jesus would just sit back and let something happen that he didn’t have an appetite to tolerate?

We have been given authority over the ground on which we walk. Including our work. When the time comes where it isn’t appropriate to just let it go, its time to take action.

Of course, I’m not claiming that we should get our way all the time, but I believe we put up with a lot more than we need to and a lot more than we were meant to. This is true both spiritually and in the natural world around us.

Are there patterns around you that you want changed? Any behaviors of coworkers toward you that could be toxic? Any projects or situations you want revitalized? I want to encourage you to seek God for direction and to prepare to take action.

I had a time in my career where I could sense that several individuals had distain toward me and they were often condescending in their tone toward me and others. It had become awkward at times and others could see the lack of teamwork and cooperation.

I finally realized that I had let it go on for far too long. Even more than one interaction should have been enough for me to speak up. I eventually did speak up and things changed almost immediately.

There are many tactical approaches to take, but simply pointing an issue out and humbly asking for a change may be all that is needed. But when you do so, don’t forget Matthew 7:5, which says to “first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” This verse is truth for how we live in general, and it provides advice on how to approach others in correction.

Even if we don’t act perfect all the time, it doesn’t mean we cannot ask for behavior change in others. Sometimes just recognizing an imperfection of our own is enough to take the harsh edge off our request for the other person to change.

So whats going on around you that you would like to see changed? In my experience, the longer we let something go on, the harder it is to bring it up, and the weaker we look and feel in not doing so. Sometimes we just have to suck it up and rip off the band-aid.

We should always seek God in prayer for the interaction and for protection and blessing over the other person. We don’t always know what they are dealing with, but even so, it doesn’t always give an excuse for negative behavior.

We always want to do everything in love and humility, but sometimes we need to rattle the cages.

Will you take the authority you have been given in Christ? You own the ground you walk on. God gave Adam authority and dominion over the earth. Adam gave it to Satan when he sinned. Jesus died to restore us to God and He got the authority back for us.

The authority really is ours through Christ, so lets walk like it is. What are you putting up with this week that you need to take authority over? Seek to partner with God in prayer and get your next steps from Him.

3 Reasons to Partner with God in Your Work

Should you rely on God in your work every day? We know God partners with people in the Bible, but does He operate that way today?

In this post, we will explore three reasons for you to partner with God in your work every day.

1. Partnership with God is the Biblical Model

Work is a significant theme throughout the Bible and can often be overlooked. When you read the Bible with an eye for work, you can see that it is everywhere.

Working together with God is a common thread throughout the Bible. We see it in the work of Noah, when God gave him the plans for the Ark, and we see it with Joseph when God revealed how to prepare for a famine.

God clearly partnered with His people throughout scripture and wants to do the same today.

It goes without saying that the work we partner with God in doing must be righteous and honorable to Him. But beyond that requirement, the Bible makes no distinctions in the kind of work people should partner with God in doing. He wants to partner with us in our daily work just as much as in our volunteering and our church-related work.

The Bible also says a lot about the quality of work we should do and how we should do it.

2. Paul Explicitly Says to Partner with God

Paul writes that we are God’s fellow workers (1 Cor. 3:9). He even shows how it can work by giving God the credit for the growth while we do the planting and watering (1 Cor. 3:6-7).

There is a clear role for us to fill and a clear role for God to fill. Could you imagine if you prayed for rain so your garden could flourish but didn’t plant anything? Would you expect anything to grow?

Ephesians 2:10 says that we are God’s workmanship and that He prepares good works for us to walk in. God is always working on us and on those around us.

3. God Has Infinite Wisdom and Knowledge

James 4:2 says that we do not have because 1) we do not ask, or 2) we ask with wrong motives. Our motives shouldn’t be to get ahead for our own glory, but to glorify God and steward what He gave us well.

Wisdom is the right application of knowledge and God has wisdom He wants to share with us for the unique situations we encounter every day.

In the Bible, Solomon was a man who sought God for wisdom unique to his circumstances. In 1 Kings 3:16-28, God gave him wisdom on how to determine which of two women was the real mother of a baby.

The Foundation of Fellowship

In order to have a partnership, you must have a relationship. Following Christ is not about memorizing the right answers and just living morally. It is about fellowship and intimacy with Jesus Christ.

Partnering with God in our work and life is no different. Working with God is much more than just applying principles. We must prioritize having a strong relationship with God.

We spend a lot of time in our work. Why would God want to waste that opportunity?

Do you seek God for how to handle situations in your work regularly? How can you partner with God in your work this week? He is ready and waiting to get engaged and share the unique wisdom He has for you and your work.

Are You a Victim of Your Circumstances?

Are things happening to you or are they happening for you? What perspective should you hold? The mindset we adopt can have a huge impact on how we handle what comes to us and what God can accomplish.

There are many reasons why adopting a victim mentality is not the best approach. To be clear, I’m not referring to being a victim in the sense of a crime, but in the sense of our mentality within our daily situations.

A Victim Mentality Limits Opportunities

When we act as though we are victims, it closes the door to our problem solving abilities. Our minds can’t flow to solutions when we are fixated on the unfairness of our circumstances.

It can be difficult, but we must to learn to embrace where we find ourselves. That doesn’t mean we approve of everything that is happening, but it positions us to deal with it the best way possible.

On the water, wind and waves can wreak havoc on a sailboat. But if the crew continuously adjusts the sails to take advantage of the wind, they can use it to their benefit.

The wind isn’t in control of everything that happens with the boat. The crew simply responds to use the wind to get the boat where they want to go.

A Victim Mentality Limits Transformation

We know that God doesn’t waste anything for those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). If we adopt a victim mentality it can short-circuit the development that God has planned for us.

There is an aspect of our circumstances that God wants to use to shape us, but they never control us. Just as the sailboat crew can use the sails to get where they want to go, God can use these opportunities to get us where He wants us to be.

A Victim Mentality Produces the Wrong Focus

Adopting an attitude of victimhood goes further than just focusing on the victim. It places the focus on the unfairness of a situation.

This focus entirely undermines what God may want to do in a situation. The Bible is filled with seemingly unfair situations and circumstances that God was able to use for His glory and even to bring about His will.

Joseph was sold into slavery, Paul was beaten, and Stephen was killed. Each of these were used by God in incredible ways.

If Paul and Silas had been focused on the unfairness of being thrown in jail, the jailer and his family may have never been saved (Acts 16:23-34). We need to keep our focus on Christ and what God wants to accomplish in every situation.

We don’t want to waste what God has plans to use.

A Better Mentality

Jesus always responded to His circumstances from a position of control. He never let the circumstances control His attitude. He was always intentional in how He responded and never took the place of a victim.

Our circumstances never take God by surprise. We are always in a place where God has a clear path forward. We may not see the full path, but we will always see enough to take a step.

The Challenge

We are to be intentionally handling situations and things that come up, not allowing ourselves to be controlled and manipulated by them.

We can often limit what God wants to do in the situation with how we see things.

Are there any circumstances that might be impacting you more than they should today? What does God want you to take charge of and get intentional with? Ask the Lord to show you and adjust your sails to use the wind today.

With the right mentality, you will be amazed at how quickly things can change.

Does a Soft Answer Turn Away Wrath?

Have you ever responded to someone in a way that felt great in the moment but eventually embarrassed you? Perhaps you wished you had handled it differently? Sometimes this seems like a never-ending cycle, but it doesn’t have to be.

There is a Better Way

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1).

I must admit that I have spent plenty of time saying just the right thing to increase the wrath from others. Fortunately, I have also come to see the benefits of not doing so.

Have you seen how a timely gentle response can completely defuse a situation? It can quickly calm down a raging person and can completely shift the atmosphere in an entire room.

There is a spirit of peace that comes with a controlled response. Much more than what our eyes alone can see.

To be clear, I am not talking about letting people walk all over us. I am talking about an assertive, firm and calm response. One that is not solely driven by uncontrolled emotions.

A Necessary Disclaimer

Understanding and using this concept biblically doesn’t mean that a harsh or dramatic response is never appropriate. But it is a reminder that most often a calm, calculated, assertive response is exactly what is needed.

Jesus often gave what seemed to be harsh responses to people, especially the religious leaders at the time. But He was always speaking to what was in their heart. He never lost His cool or had any regret over how He handled Himself.

The Every Day Reality

We may think that we don’t have a choice in how we react, but when patterns show up in our lives, we make a choice whether to let them continue or to deal with them.

I have handled some situations very well and some not so well. As I reflected on each interaction and why they had different results, I could see that how it went often had more to do with me and my own heart than it did with the other person.

God loves you. And God loves the people he puts in front of you. Think about it: you have an opportunity to be different in those moments. Of course, there is the importance of remaining professional, but there is more to it. You are representing Christ.

This doesn’t mean we give a robotic response, but it means we should always have a response that we are still proud of an hour later.

We Need A Helper

It might seem impossible to do in your own strength. If you believe that, you are right.

We need God’s Holy Spirit to live through us to respond in this way. Our will power has a limit, but the power that Jesus had on earth and that we have in us today has no limit.

If we love people, we need to seek to see them the way God sees them. We need to separate the way they act from who they are and how much they matter.

Many times we have a choice to make in how we respond. Does anything come to mind for you? How can you ask God to get engaged and rely on His strength, so you can always be ready to make the right choice?

Do You Work With Excellence?

God does not do half-hearted work. It is in His nature to do the best work possible. But does He expect the same from us today?

Our Biblical Example

The Bible is filled with examples that demonstrate not only the importance of working with excellence, but also the requirement of working with excellence.

In the Bible, Daniel worked with a spirit of excellence that was even recognized by others (Dan. 6:3, Dan. 5:12). God was able to trust Daniel with delicate situations because he was faithful to Him and always did excellent work.

What has God already trusted you with? God often wants to see our faithfulness in small things before He can trust us with bigger things.

Joseph is another paramount example of working with excellence. Everything he did was to the best of his ability. So much so that his managers were concerned about nothing that was under his responsibility (Gen. 39:6, Gen. 39:23).

Often times we may not feel that we have the right abilities, but are we truly using all the abilities we do have?

Your Work is A Witness

The greatest witness a Christian can provide is often through their actions rather than their words. We have a great opportunity to demonstrate our faithfulness to the One we serve by the excellence of our work.

As author Tom Nelson writes in his book, Work Matters, “The excellence of our work often gives us the credibility to speak of the excellence of our Lord Jesus.” Nelson also recognizes that diligent stewardship is an authenticating mark of a true follower of Christ.

Would you want to listen to someone talk about Jesus if they were careless, complaining or lazy in their work?

Jesus and the Apostle Paul

The apostle Paul wrote his second letter to the Corinthians under the assumption that they would excel in everything (2 Cor. 8:7). He wrote to Colossians that they should do their work with their whole heart as though they were working for God and not for man (Col. 3:23).

How often do we just see our work as something we simply do, rather than something we do for God?

Jesus told His followers to let their light shine for others to see, so they could glorify their Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16). Our light should shine in how we talk, how we act, and in the kind of work we do.

It seems quite difficult to imagine Jesus or the apostle Paul doing work that wasn’t done to the best of their ability. How much confidence would you have in buying a tent made by the apostle Paul?

Do people have that kind of confidence in the work we do every day?

What About You?

Sometimes we can become complacent if we aren’t careful. It’s good to take time to reflect and ask ourselves whether we are truly giving our best in everything we do.

Are you stuck or lacking motivation? Get alone with the Lord and ask Him to help. He has prepared everything for you to walk in and has exactly what you need to move forward with confidence and purpose.

Is it important to you to do your best work? What will you do this week to work with excellence?

Are the Events In Your Work Arbitrary?

What if all the circumstances in your work over the past few years were sovereignly ordered by God for your education? Would that change how you viewed some of the events? When you start to see God around you in your work, you will quickly begin to see how God can use everything.

If you are a follower of Christ, God’s Word promises that He will use everything for your good.

It may be difficult to believe at first, but God will not waste anything. Not even the mistakes we make, the difficulties we encounter, or the victories we enjoy.

Remember that God is always in charge

I recall a time when I felt betrayed by a coworker. At first, I kept busy stewing over how unfair and wrong their actions were, but eventually God was able to use it to teach me about relying on Him. He gave me the steps I needed to take to resolve the situation and to restore the relationship. This initial problem even led to other benefits within the team that I would have never expected.

How much are we missing out on because we have our eyes on the wrong prize? We think our work is about us and not about the God we serve.

How often do we complain and fail to recognize God’s hand and ability to use what comes to us? We waste time grumbling over details like how we have been wronged, all while God is waiting for us to look to Him so He can use circumstances for what He desires.

There is a better way

We don’t have to waste time grumbling. We can rise up and trust God with everything that comes to us in our work. Whether its good or bad, easy or difficult, clear or confused.

When we make up our mind to trust that God will not waste anything, we must remember that we have a spiritual adversary that wants to distract us from the truth.

This enemy wants you to focus on yourself and to forget the fact that God will use everything for your good. But we can walk and work by faith and trust in the promise of Romans 8:28 – that God will use all things for our good.

That means that no matter what you have been through and no matter what you are going through, God has plans to use it for your greatest benefit. He does so according to His complete knowledge of you.

It all comes down to one question – will you trust Him?

Do you trust God with your work? Do you trust Him to use you where you are today? Do you trust Him to develop you for where you’re going?

If we don’t see our circumstances through a lens of trust in God, we can disrupt what He wants to accomplish in us. We can even delay what God wants to prepare us for.

It’s time to lean in and embrace our circumstances.

What about your own work?

What can you see that God has already used for your development? Is there anything going on right now that you need to trust Him with more?

Is Work Important in the Bible?

Does work matter in the Bible? What does the Bible even say about the topic of work? The answers to these questions are foundational to our faith at work journey. You might be surprised to find out just how prominent work actually is in the Bible. You may be equally surprised at how much God uses work.

Work is a primary means God uses to bring about His will and His plans for mankind. Once we recognize it, it becomes clear that it is everywhere from Genesis to Revelation.

Major Ideas of Work in the Bible

The Bible has a lot to say about work. The Bible speaks directly to how we should work and even provides countless examples for us to follow. The Bible includes many different types of work, ranging from manual labor and household duties to teaching, managing, and leading.

Many overarching work-related themes are found in the Bible – here are just a few:

  • God works through people and partners with them in their work
  • God uses the work of His people to accomplish His will
  • God uses work to shape and develop people
  • God doesn’t waste anything when it comes to the work of people and the circumstances of their lives
  • God uses the work of people to extend His Kingdom on earth and expand His influence

These important work-related ideas, along with many others, are found throughout the whole of Scripture.

Work in the Old Testament

The Bible begins with a description of the work God did in creation and points to God as a worker. Did you know that the first words God said to His created man and woman together were directions to do work?

Since God is a worker and we are made in His image, when we work, we are putting God’s nature on display.

It is fascinating to note that work existed before sin entered the world. While the fall of man and sin brought a curse upon the earth and changed human’s experience of work, the nature of work remained good.

The Old Testament includes examples of massive work, such as Noah building the Ark, and Moses leading the people of Israel out of Egypt. It also includes smaller work, like pouring oil into jars or baking bread. And we can’t forget the important work of the priests, prophets, judges and kings.

Joseph and Daniel stand as incredible examples of what it is to work for God and in partnership with Him. Have you thought about how everything they did was working with God?

Proverbs, Psalms, and Ecclesiastes give practical advice when it comes to work and applying God’s wisdom to daily life.

Work in the New Testament

Work and the marketplace played significant roles in the Gospels. The disciples were not pulled from the religious leadership of the time. Jesus found them in the marketplace where they were doing everyday work. The Gospels were written by workers, including a medical doctor, a tax collector and a fisherman.

The Rabbi’s at the time were expected to learn a trade to support themselves while they taught students. Paul was a tentmaker and Jesus was a carpenter.

Paul wrote about the basic expectations of work, including the importance of doing our work for God and not for man. He even warned the Thessalonians against idleness and went so far as to say that those who were unwilling to work should not eat.

Have you noticed that much of the apostle’s ministry activity was done in the marketplace?

Many of the parables of Jesus were related to work and included different types of work, such as management, farming, gardening, construction and shepherding.

Summing it Up

The prominence of the topic of work in the Bible speaks to its significance. The Bible contains work found in all segments of society, including: education, religion, family, business, government, arts, entertainment, and media.

From beginning to end, the Bible clearly reveals the sanctity and dignity of work. Work is found within the Creator Himself and humanity is called to continue God’s work on earth.

What About Today?

The breadth of work in the Bible has clear implications for today.

Can you see the significance of work in the Bible? Can you see the pattern of how God works together in partnership with people?

What do you think about the prominence of work in the Bible? How does what you see in the Bible about work affect how you see the work you do? Will you engage God in your work this week?