“Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord with slackness…” (Jeremiah 48:10).
Breathe a sigh of relief, because this is a truth that only applies to pastors and missionaries, right? Sure, go ahead and be lazy in everything you do and you’ll be fine. Let me know how that works out for you. This was a pronouncement of judgment on the Moabites, so this clearly doesn’t relate to us today, right? This was in the Old Testament, not the New Testament, so this doesn’t apply to us. The excuses that pour out of us when trying to get ourselves out of the hard teachings of Scripture can be pretty pathetic.
Paul takes this principle and brings some New Testament clarification to those who are trying to excuse their way out of following key Old Testament principles. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24). While Paul’s words exclude the idea of a curse from God, they are just as strong and they bring significant clarity. Whether you are a pastor, or a missionary, or a doctor, or a teacher, or a stay-at-home Mom, or an engineer your work is all for the Lord.
The television show, The Office was a very popular show that depicted a satirical picture of a small business office in Pennsylvania. Each of the characters in the office played a role that stereotyped some people you may be familiar with in your own offices. The common trait among many of them was their easy ability to be distracted from their main responsibility of working their job faithfully. An article came out in 2015 on Forbes.com that highlighted the amount of time that is wasted at work by typical employees: 31% waste roughly 30 minutes a day at work; 31% waste roughly 1 hour a day; 16% waste roughly 2 hours a day; 6% waste roughly 3 hours daily; 2% waste roughly 4 hours daily; and then 2% waste 5 or more hours daily. Every time there is a study like this, there is always something called the “halo effect.” The halo effect details the fact that many people lie on these sorts of statistics and try to make people think better of them than they should. So these statistics may be somewhat optimistic.
If the statistics are true, then I know that many of you reading this are squirming. You know what it is like to be slothful in your work. You might even know what it is like to not really care about poorly handling the finances of a company you don’t own. Let Jeremiah and Paul’s teaching cut to your heart. Stop separating your sacred and secular lives. The way you love your spouse, raise your child, handle your company’s finances, fabricate and engineer is a reflection of your heart. Will you work heartily as for the Lord, or will you try to pretend that your work ethic doesn’t really matter. Don’t be fooled. Your work ethic matters to the Lord.