Discover the Real Worth of Your Work

Unless we see the worth of our work, we will never find fulfillment in doing it. Unless we see why we are doing what we are doing, we will never be happy with our jobs.

Let me clarify that our worth as persons is not dependent on our work. Even if our work vanishes, our worth does not vanish with it. Your company may have fired, retired, downsized, transferred, demoted or even promoted you. But, in God’s eyes, your worth as a person remains.

However, I agree with Zig Ziglar when he said, “Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it.” You are not your work. But you show who you are through your work. In short, we express our worth through our work.

That is the real worth of our work. Let us read Ephesians 6:5-9... Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

In the book of Ephesians, we see that God called us to live significant lives. And a significant life leads to significant relationships. One of those relationships is our work. You may think that these verses do not apply today because it talks about slave-master relationship. But “Paul talked to the slaves of that day the same way he would talk to the employees of our day. And what he said, essentially, was that the way we conduct ourselves at work speaks volumes more than all the hours we spend at church.”

Yet it seems believers have lost by default when it comes to the workplace. It affects our witness to those who have not accepted the Lord Jesus as Savior. Someone lamented, “How can anyone remain interested in a religion which seems to have no concern with nine-tenths of his life?”

So, how do we express our significance or worth through our work? We have the acronym W-O-R-K.

“W” stands for “WORK hard.” Verse 6 says, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.” Obey means obey. We are to do what we are supposed to do and even beyond our job description. The word “sincerity” has not only the idea of a good intention but also an all-out devotion. “It suggests that the employee should not hold back from his best but should actually pour himself out liberally in honest service.”
[4] In verse 7 it says, “Serve wholeheartedly...” The word “wholeheartedly” means there’s no need to force you to do your job. You take the initiative. The NET Bible goes like this: “Obey with enthusiasm...” Just imagine. Paul was talking to slaves, either sold or captured in a war or born to slave parents. No one really wanted to be a slave. Thus they have to be compelled to serve. But still Paul commanded, “Serve eagerly and willingly.” I like how the Message translated it: “work with a smile on your face...” That is, serve cheerfully.
Ephesians 4:28 gave us another reason why we work: “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.” We work not only to provide for the needs of our families. God blessed us with our work so that we “can help others who can’t work.”
[5] I said help those who can’t, not those who won’t work. Work enables us to serve others.

“O” stands for “OBEY with the right motives.” Someone said, “People do what is inspected, not what is expected.” So, when the boss is away, the employees play. Verse 6 says that is wrong: “Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you...” We are to work hard “not only when [our superiors] are watching [us], because [we] want to gain their approval...”
[6] We are not to work hard for the sake of appearance. Of course, we need to impress our boss with our work. People tell me that a good impression is important for their promotion. I agree. But to impress our manager with our output is one thing, to pretend that we are working hard is another. You are not only fooling your supervisor. You are actually fooling yourself if you just pretend to work. That is actually hypocrisy.

There was a retired person who became interested in watching the activities in a construction site near his house. He noticed a worker who was digging with so much energy.
He watched the guy for some days. He was so impressed that he decided to approach and compliment the worker. He said, “I enjoyed watching you work. I should tell your foreman so that you would be rewarded.” The construction worker was so surprised. “You mean you are not my supervisor?” Seriously, we need to ask at the end of a working day, “Do I deserve my pay for the day? Is my labor equal to my salary? Am I doing what I’m told to do even if I’m not supervised?”

Of course, if employers fail to give what is due, that is another story. Working hard is the responsibility of the employee. Paying the right wages is the responsibility of the employer. Verse 9 commands employers, “Masters, it’s the same with you. No abuse, please, and no threats.”
[7] Colossians 4:1 says, “Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair...” So God says employers are abusing their employees when they fail to give what is right and fair.
Well, until we find another company, we are to work hard in our present job even if it fails to provide well. Why? Verse 8 assures us “that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.” This brings me to my next point. “R” stands for “REMEMBER the rewards.” The Lord may reward us here on earth. He may bless us with a better job in another company or a promotion in our present job. It’s all up to Him. He may choose not to reward us here at all. But definitely He will reward us there in heaven. The Message goes like this: “Good work will get you good pay from the Master...” A salary is a reward by itself. Just imagine. Slaves at that time don’t even receive any salary. But we receive wages. Now, isn’t it amazing that we can expect a double pay? We receive a salary here on earth and we will receive a salary there in heaven. Your employer may not give you what you think is due you. But God will make sure you will receive what is rightfully yours.

Lastly, “K” stands for “KNOW the real Master.” Paul wrote that we must “obey [our] earthly masters with respect and fear...” It means we give our boss great respect. If your boss is not respectable, still give him respect. We have to respect the office even if the person seating on it is not deserving of our respect. Why? Note what Paul said: “just as you would obey Christ.” We respect our employer here on earth because our real Employer is there in heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ. We obey Christ by obeying our boss. All of us have the same Boss. That is why verse 7 commands us to “work with a smile on [our] face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, [we’re] really serving God.”
[8] That is why managers should also respect their subordinates because verse 9 says, “Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.” God holds both the employer and the employee accountable to Him. The clause “there is no favoritism with him” means He “judges everyone by the same standard.”[9] The Message translates it this way: “He makes no distinction between you and them.”

No matter what our position is in the corporate ladder, we have the same Boss, the real Owner of the business. We are just His caretakers. We will explain to Him the way we did our work or the way we handled our subordinates or the way we related to our superiors.

So, we express our worth through our W.O.R.K. WORK hard. OBEY with the right motives. REMEMBER the rewards. And KNOW the real Master.

I close with this interesting quote from Harvey Firestone, the founder of Firestone Tire and Rubber Company: “I have never found that pay and pay alone would neither bring together nor hold good people. I think it was the game itself.” In other words, people work not only because of the pay but because they find work fulfilling.

People who follow the Bible have a higher purpose. It’s not really self-fulfillment. It’s “God-fulfillment.” We actually work for God. You don’t have to be a pastor to work for Him. Work is our worship to God. That’s the true worth of our work.

Let’s pray...

[1]Bible verses are from the New International Version, unless otherwise noted.
[2]Charles Swindoll, Becoming a People of Grace
[3]Dorothy Sayers, Creed or Chaos
[4]James Montgomery Boice, Ephesians: An Expositional Commentary
[5]The Message
[6]Good News Bible
[7]The Message
[8]The Message
[9]Good News Bible


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