Why work? The motivations of the heart

Why work? The motivations of the heart

Galatians 1:10

What motivates our work?

I would suggest we work for one of two reasons: either we work for ourselves, or we work for God. This is the Gospel: either we worship ourselves or we worship God. Our hearts are geared to worship: the question is what do we worship?

Furthermore, if we work for ourselves, part of that motivation is to win the approval of others. In this sense we are looking over our shoulders to see the reaction of our work colleagues, and the circle we associate with outside of work. We need approval- we crave approval of people.

If we work for God, the Gospel produces confident and fearless followers of Jesus, doing what is right without concern for the approval and good opinion of others#.

We do not change our heart motivation by manufacturing a rule: ‘Thou shall not work to win the approval of others’. Too often this is how the gospel is taught: we want rules so that we can look down on others and measure them against ourselves, and we always come out on top!

What does it mean “to work for God”?

Firstly, it does not mean that we must be “in ministry”.

The idea that only ministers are working for God is just not true. This was understood as far back as Martin Luther, who said ” their -that is ‘lay people’- seemingly secular works are a worship of God and an obedience well pleasing to God”  [Luther’s Workseds J Pelikan and DE Poellot].

No division

There is no such division in the Gospel between lay ministers and ministers, even if that division exists in some churches. Christ followers have long been bluffed into this kind of thinking, and it is time that we clicked the Gospel and lived and talked in its light.

All jobs are fundamentally ways of loving your neighbour. Christians do not have to do direct ministry or charitable work in order to love others through their jobs#.

What it does mean to work for God

To work for God means that we see the world and work ‘ablaze with the glory of God’s work through the people he has created [believers and non- believers] and called- in everything from the simplest actions, such as milking a cow, to the most brilliant artistic of historic achievements.

This revolutionary way of looking at work gives all work a common and exalted purpose: To honour God by loving your neighbours and serving them through your work#.

What it also means is that we serve God best by doing the work we do as well as it can be done: competent work is a form of love#. We discover that the very actions of daily life are spiritual and enable us to touch God in the world, not away from it#.

Oh that we who are called by Christ would ‘preach’ his Gospel by being really good at what we work at!



# I can not claim these thoughts as my own but have drawn them from Tim Keller: Every good endeavour. 

14th Dec 2018