Work as Worship

blog Jan 11, 2024

By Lawrence Powell

Human beings are absolutely amazing! Considering the beauty and complexity of anthropological design, Israel’s King David correctly concluded, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made!” (Psalm 139:14) Indeed, the magnificence of humanity commands attention and evokes awe.


A fundamental understanding of man within both Judaism and Christianity is a belief in the Creator God and that humans are His creation. According to Scripture, the human race was created in the image of God or “imago Dei” to be “like Him.” God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness” (Genesis 1:26).

Together the words, “image” and “likeness” tell us mankind is a representation of God and is like Him in certain aspects. Human beings are made “a little lower than God, and You crowned with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:5, NASB). Humans are uniquely designed, gifted, posed and empowered to actively represent Him on earth.

From the start God intended that humanity represent Him with divinely apportioned dominion “over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground” (Genesis 1:28). Representing our Creator on earth began with Adam and Eve and then extended to His agents, as observed throughout Scripture. The task continues today.

The New Testament further supports the notion of representation initially presented in Genesis.  Believers are charged and graced with the responsibility of representation and partnership as followers of Jesus Christ. To the Corinthian church Paul writes, “As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain” (2 Corinthians 6:1). To the Philippians he writes, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (2:12b-13). To work out is not to work for. Instead, it means to give full expression to the salvation work of God in us.


In the Biblical context, work includes our job—that for which we are paid or earn our livelihood, but extends well beyond it, including all that we are obliged to do to meet physical and social needs.1 It should be noted that the obligatory nature of work in supplying or providing for basic needs and desires with the proverbial “blood, sweat and tears” in mind is observed after the Fall (see Genesis 3:17-19).

Originally the purpose of God in endowing humans with the capacity, skill and responsibility of work was to do so delightfully—that is to be fruitful, multiply, fill and subdue the earth in pleasant alliance with Him (see Genesis 1:26-28). Moreover, Solomon aptly expresses God’s intent regarding professional fulfillment and our understanding for working man—that he “enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God” (see Ecclesiastes 3:9-13).

However, somewhere along the way, the thought has been propagated that work is evil. One of the culprits in this misguided thinking stems from the constant barrage of television and social media ads. You know, the ones that seem to pop up every two minutes on your screen, buzzing with testimonials of people who have managed to amass enough money that they no longer are bothered with the hum-drum lifestyle which includes a j-o-b.

They make it look so easy, sitting by the pool with a drink in their hand, surrounded by tanned beach bodies. Now, if you’ve purchased one of these “systems” but didn’t experience million-dollar success, don’t feel bad. Most folks who succumb to this temptation soon realize the ones getting rich are those selling the systems.

Media hounds aren’t the only ones who have undermined the value of work—the super-spiritual have added to it as well. These are the ones who argue, “If Eve hadn’t blown it in the garden, we would not have to toil and work like we do.” Oh, really? It might do these folks some good to actually read the Bible. If they did, they would find that in the book of Genesis, someone was working long before Adam and Eve were ever alive on this planet. His name is God.

How do you think God created this amazing planet? He worked, and if God Himself works, then work must be a good thing. He even complimented His work saying, “It was very good” (see Genesis 1:31).

The Bible says that for six days God created, and on the seventh day He rested (see Genesis 2:2). But He didn’t stop there. Not only did God institute the idea of work, but He gave Adam a job—to tend the Garden—right after forming him from the dust of the earth (see Genesis 2:15). By the way, have you ever noticed that the Lord gave Adam a job before giving him a wife? Before he could take care of someone, he had to take care of something. That’s for another article entirely!

Notwithstanding, following Adam and Eve’s failure in Eden, work acquired a negative connotation. The Hebrew word ‘amal and the Greek words kopos and ponos each convey the idea that work is wearisome, anguishing, troubling and unfulfilling.2 Such is consistent with common contemporary reasoning regarding work as expressed in sayings like, “Work sucks” and “A cubicle is just a padded cell without a door.”

God is the ultimate worker. The heavens are the work of His fingers (see Psalm 8:3). Furthermore, “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (Ephesians 2:10a). That said, we are urged to “follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children” (Ephesians 5:1).

Jesus indicated that He had a particular work to do on earth and used the pronoun “we” because we are part of that work (see John 9:4). Jesus associated Himself with mankind in the things He performed on behalf of the Father paving the way and preparing us for our role in the work of the Kingdom. We must take care of business, until Christ’s return (see Luke 19:13). That said:

  1. Live and work like a real Christian. Working is a powerful witness to those whom you share 40-plus hours a week. Stop and ask yourself, “Do my co-workers see me as someone who works with godly integrity, character, commitment, and diligence? Am I productive with my time? Are my efforts producing fruit?” These are key elements to “acting like Jesus” in the workplace.
  2. Accept your work as a gift from God rather than a curse. Seeing your work as a gift from God will change your attitude and positively affect productivity. Instead of complaining about your job, thank God He has given you a productive way to spend your time, release your potential, and make some money!
  3. See God as your true employer. When you view God as your “boss,” you will most likely be diligent about your work, whether your natural boss is around or not. Don’t get caught in the trap of simply being an eye-pleaser. Work smart and hard, even when no one is looking. Even if your boss can’t see you, or you are your own boss, remember that God is always watching.
  4. Handle your business with the right attitude. You can have talent running out your ears, but without the right attitude, it will get you nowhere. Adjust your attitude to determine your altitude in life. Success and blessing are sure to follow.
  5. Always remember your mission. A workman is worthy of his hire (see Luke 10:7). but money is not the ultimate objective of labor. Wherever God has placed you is for a larger purpose than yourself. Do your best to represent the Lord daily in your conduct and conversations. Your mission is to exemplify Christ at all times.
  6. Be the answer, not the problem. Every workplace has problems, and every problem has an answer. That's precisely why God placed you at your job—to be a solutions resource. When you are known as a “solver of problems,” you become valuable in the eyes of others.
  7. Stay focused on the future. If you’re in a position right now that you don’t like, don’t lose hope. This isn’t the end goal for you; see it as preparation for what’s next. Be faithful in little things and God will give you more (see Luke 16:10). Your eternal purpose is in God’s hand and where you are now is just a checkpoint for where you are going. In the meantime, take care of God’s business faithfully and He’ll take care of yours.


Check out Lawrence Powell's new book The Good Life.


  1. Ryken, Leland. Work & Leisure in Christian Perspective. Portland, Oregon: Multnomah Press, 1987.
  2. Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words: With Topical Index. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1996.
  3. Morgan, Jacob. “Why Does Work Suck.” The Huffington Post. Retrieved from

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