Many people will tell you that if you are truly blessed, you won’t have to work hard to obtain wealth. They claim that God will just pour out wealth and material possessions on you as a reward for believing this very fact! They sometimes go as far as to accuse those who work hard of having misplaced faith!
Well, is this what God thinks about working hard? Does he view His children working hard as having faith in their jobs rather than in Him?
Let’s look at a few verses of scripture for the answer:
God commands the one who used to provide for himself by stealing to now labor and work hard – He even refers to this as “what is good”.
He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good… ~Ephesians 4:28
It is clear from the following passage that hard work (for those who are able) is the primary means that God uses to provide for His children.
For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11
God gives us the ability to work and earn a living, and also provides wisdom in order to wisely use the money and possessions that He gives us!
God expects every able-bodied man to work and provide for his family, and He also makes special provision for those who are unable to care for themselves (cf 1 Timothy 5:3-16). Note especially verse 8, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever“.
Hard work honors God, while chasing get-rich-quick schemes and other worthless ventures never leads to wealth:
He who tills his land will have plenty of food, but he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty. A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished. ~ Proverbs 28:19:20
God promises to bless those who faithfully work hard (“till [their] land”), while those who are lazy will only reap poverty!
Consider the fact that God provided six days for us to work, and only one day in which to rest and honor Him:
Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work… ~ Exodus 20:9-10a
Now, you won’t see me volunteering to work an extra day for my employer! However, I believe that this verse allows us to see God’s design when it comes to work.
Is there really a danger of misplacing your faith?
Yes. It is possible to place your trust in the size of your bank account or other worldly attributes, instead of God.
Many husbands/fathers will be absent from the home in order to work 80-100 hours/week in order to provide for their families.
This is not God’s long-term will. If you plan to work this hard temporarily to accomplish some godly goal (such as paying off debt), AND you take the necessary precautions, then pray and seek God’s will for your family.
How do we avoid misplacing our faith?
The key to finding a balance is to understand that it is God who ultimately provides for us, and to follow the command of 1 Corinthians 10:31 – “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”