Read Ephesians 4:28
28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. (NIV)
For those who have a job, there are a couple of main reasons for going to work. One is to get enough money to live. The other is to embrace something we feel is important or even enjoyable in our lives. Our text provides another reason which is not often recognised.
Doing an honest day’s work doesn’t just help yourself, it can help others. How many of us earn our pay with the idea of being able to help the needy? Followers of Jesus are told to be generous and could be expected to give some of their income to worthy causes. But we usually don’t think of that as we do our jobs: the generosity comes afterwards.
Working with an eye towards being generous can help us appreciate the value of our work. It involves a change of perspective meaning that our work is no longer just about ourselves. True, we do need to support ourselves and families; otherwise we can’t be of help to others. True, it is good to enjoy our work, but our work has impact far beyond ourselves.
If I don’t earn money, I have no money which can aid the needy. The more I earn, the more I can potentially give away. This generosity perspective does not necessarily make work constantly pleasurable or easy. But it can help us see work as not mere ‘hard work’.