Work is part of most people’s lives. Most of us have paid employment at some time – most of us, probably, for many years. Some of us might work for ourselves, but most of us are accountable to other people. Those who work as homemakers or carers are accountable too – perhaps not to someone who pays us, but still to someone we serve.
In spite of this, most of us probably don’t hear too many sermons about work, or get too much church teaching. But the Bible has more 550 references to work. Some of them are to what God does, some to what we do. There is teaching about how employers are to treat their workers. There is a commandment to be generous. There is a promise of blessing for work well done. And Jesus takes a master’s generosity to his hired workers as a picture of God’s generosity to us.
Here are 10 Bible verses about work.
1. ‘Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed (Exodus 23:12).
2. So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the Lord has commanded (Exodus 36:1).
4. If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to you, do not make them work as slaves (Leviticus 25:39).
5. The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything (Deuteronomy 2:7).
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6. Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to (Deuteronomy 15:10).
7. The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none (Deuteronomy 28:12).
8. But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded (2 Chronicles 15:7).
9. Then [Jesus] said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37).
10. “These who were hired last worked only one hour,” they said, “and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day” (Matthew 20:12).