Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. – Colossians 3:23 (CSB)
…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. – 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (CSB)
I’m a big fan of podcasts, so I listen to quite a few throughout the week. Recently, I listened to The Art of Manliness’ episode titled “What It Means to Be a Quiet Professional” (if you’d like to listen, click the link(s) at the bottom of this post).
Guest Rob Haul works with and trains American special forces troops. From those interactions he has learned the art of being a quiet craftsman.
Rob’s insights drew a lot of connections to the verses I listed above. Taking Rob’s thoughts a step further, I want to unpack a Christian work ethic that is biblically similar to Rob’s philosophy of work.
Here are five foundational traits of a Christian work ethic.
- Work with quiet humility. Christians should be folks who let their work speak for them, opting to never self-promote, unlike the co-worker who can’t go five minutes without talking about his latest and greatest excel spreadsheet. In the words of the Proverb, “Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth – a stranger, not your own lips” (27:2, NLT).
- Work that is quality craftsmanship. Christians don’t cut corners. We should understand that we are never perfect, but strive to do our work to the highest quality we can within the time window provided.
- Work that flows out of constant learning. The Christian understands that he or she can always get better at a job. Learning keeps us humble and sharp. It progresses and refines the skills of our trades.
- Work as opportunities to bring glory to God. Good work will get recognized, and that recognition will build relationships with influential people. My dad has a great reputation in his company, and consequentially gets to show the love of Jesus to important superiors. Proverbs 22:29, one of my life verses, says “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men” (NASB).
- Work that demonstrates contentment. One trait I admire most about my dad is that he fulfills his role at work with honor and dignity. Never once have I ever heard him talk about exposing another colleague to get ahead. Why? Because he is fully devoted to doing his current job well, and he leaves promotions in the divine hands of his Father.
We will spend the majority of our lives at work. Let’s leverage those opportunities to share the gospel through our vocations.