“Everyone should . . . find enjoyment for all his hard work.”—ECCLESIASTES 3:13.
1-3. (a) How do many people feel about their job? (b) What questions will we consider in this chapter?
PEOPLE all over the world work hard to support themselves and their families. Many do not like their job, and some even dread going to work each day. If that is how you feel, what can you do to make your job more enjoyable? How can you feel good about your work?
2 Jehovah tells us: “Everyone should eat and drink and find enjoyment for all his hard work. It is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:13) Jehovah created us with the need and desire to work. He wants us to feel good about what we do.—Read Ecclesiastes 2:24; 5:18.
3 So, what can help us to enjoy our work? What types of work should Christians avoid? How can we balance our job with our worship of Jehovah? And what is the most important work we can do?
THE TWO GREATEST WORKERS
4, 5. What is Jehovah’s view of work?
4 Jehovah himself loves to work. Genesis 1:1 states: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” After God finished making the earth and everything on it, he said that his creation was “very good.” (Genesis 1:31) Our Creator was satisfied with what he had made.—1 Timothy 1:11.
5 Jehovah never stops working. Jesus said: “My Father has kept working until now.” (John 5:17) While we don’t know about all the marvelous things Jehovah has been doing, we do know about some of them. He has been selecting those who will rule with his Son, Jesus Christ, as part of the Kingdom. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Jehovah is also actively guiding and caring for humans. As a result of the worldwide preaching work, millions are coming to know Jehovah and have the hope of living forever on a paradise earth.—John 6:44; Romans 6:23.
6, 7. What kind of worker is Jesus?
6 Like his Father, Jesus loves to work. Before he came to earth, Jesus was God’s “master worker,” sharing in the creation of all things in heaven and on earth. (Proverbs 8:22-31; Colossians 1:15-17) While on earth, Jesus continued to work hard. As a young man, he learned to be a skilled carpenter, likely building both furniture and houses. Jesus became so good at his work that he was known as “the carpenter.”—Mark 6:3.
7 Yet, Jesus’ most important work on earth was preaching the good news and teaching people about Jehovah. He had three and a half years to finish his ministry, and he worked hard from early in the morning until late at night. (Luke 21:37, 38; John 3:2) Jesus walked hundreds of miles on dusty roads, sharing the good news with as many people as possible.—Luke 8:1.
8, 9. Why did Jesus enjoy his work?
8 For Jesus, doing God’s work was like food. This work gave him energy and strength. There were days that Jesus worked so hard that he did not even take time to eat a meal. (John 4:31-38) He used every opportunity to help others learn about his Father. That is why he could say to Jehovah: “I have glorified you on the earth, having finished the work you have given me to do.”—John 17:4.
9 Clearly, both Jehovah and Jesus work very hard and feel joy and satisfaction in their work. We want to “become imitators of God,” and we want to “follow [Jesus’] steps closely.” (Ephesians 5:1; 1 Peter 2:21) That is why we try to work hard and do our best in anything we do.
HOW SHOULD WE VIEW OUR WORK?
10, 11. What can help us to have a positive attitude about our job?
10 As Jehovah’s people, we work hard to support ourselves and our families. We want to feel good about our work, but this can be a challenge. So, what can we do if we don’t enjoy our job?
11 Have a positive attitude. We may not be able to change where or how much we work, but we can change our attitude. Understanding what Jehovah expects of us can help. For example: Jehovah expects a family head to care for his family’s needs to the best of his ability. In fact, the Bible says that one who fails to provide for his family “is worse than a person without faith.” (1 Timothy 5:8) If you are a family head, you work hard to provide for your family. Whether or not you like the kind of work you do, you know that by providing for your family, you are also pleasing Jehovah.
12. How does working hard and being honest benefit us?
12 Be hardworking and honest. This can make it easier for you to enjoy your work. (Proverbs 12:24; 22:29) For one thing, your employer will be able to trust you. Employers value honest employees because they will not steal money, materials, or time. (Ephesians 4:28) Even more important, Jehovah knows when you are hardworking and honest. You can have “an honest conscience” because you know you are pleasing the God you love.—Hebrews 13:18; Colossians 3:22-24.
13. What else can result from our honesty at work?
13 Recognize that your conduct at work can bring praise to Jehovah. This gives us another reason to feel good about our work. (Titus 2:9, 10) It could even happen that one of your workmates will want to study the Bible because of your good example.—Read Proverbs 27:11; 1 Peter 2:12.
WHAT JOB SHOULD I CHOOSE?
14-16. What do we need to consider when choosing a job?
14 The Bible does not contain a list of jobs that a Christian should or should not accept. But it does contain principles that can help us make good decisions about work. (Proverbs 2:6) Using Bible principles, we can ask ourselves the following questions.
15 Will this job require me to do something that Jehovah says is wrong? We have learned about practices Jehovah hates, such as stealing and lying. (Exodus 20:4; Acts 15:29; Ephesians 4:28; Revelation 21:8) So we are careful to avoid any work that goes against Jehovah’s standards.—Read 1 John 5:3.
16 Does this job support or promote a practice that Jehovah condemns? For example, what if you were offered a job as a receptionist for an abortion clinic? There is nothing wrong with being a receptionist. But you know how Jehovah feels about abortion. So even though you would not personally perform the abortions, would you not feel that from Jehovah’s standpoint you shared in the guilt?—Exodus 21:22-24.
17. What can help us make decisions that please God?
17 By using godly principles, we can be the kind of people described at Hebrews 5:14, “those who through use have their powers of discernment trained to distinguish both right and wrong.” Ask yourself: ‘If I accepted this job, would others be stumbled? Would this job require me to leave my mate and children and go to another country? How would that affect them?’
“MAKE SURE OF THE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS”
18. Why can it be a challenge to stay focused on our worship?
18 It can be difficult to put our worship of Jehovah in first place during these “critical times hard to deal with.” (2 Timothy 3:1) Finding a job and keeping it can be a real challenge. We need to take care of our family, but we know that our worship comes first. We cannot allow material things to become too important in our lives. (1 Timothy 6:9, 10) So how can we “make sure of the more important things” and at the same time provide for our family?—Philippians 1:10.
19. How does trusting in Jehovah help us to be balanced about our work?
19 Trust in Jehovah completely. (Read Proverbs 3:5, 6.) We know that God knows exactly what we need and that he cares deeply about us. (Psalm 37:25; 1 Peter 5:7) His Word tells us: “Let your way of life be free of the love of money, while you are content with the present things. For [God] has said: ‘I will never leave you, and I will never abandon you.’” (Hebrews 13:5) Jehovah does not want us to worry constantly about providing for our family. Over and over again, he has shown that he can provide for his people’s needs. (Matthew 6:25-32) No matter what our work situation is, we regularly study God’s Word, preach the good news, and attend our Christian meetings.—Matthew 24:14; Hebrews 10:24, 25.
20. How can we keep our life simple?
20 Keep your eye focused. (Read Matthew 6:22, 23.) This means keeping your life simple so that you can focus on serving Jehovah. We know that it would be foolish to allow money, a nice lifestyle, or the latest gadgets to become more important to us than our friendship with God. So, what will help us to put first things first? We must try our best not to go into debt. If you are already in debt, make a practical plan to lower it or pay it off. If we are not careful, material things could take up a lot of our time and energy, and we may not take time to pray, study, or preach. Instead of allowing material things to make our life complicated, we want to learn to be content with basics such as “food and clothing.” (1 Timothy 6:8) And whatever our situation, it is good to examine our circumstances from time to time to see how we can serve Jehovah more fully.
21. Why do we need to decide what has first place in our life?
21 Have the right priorities. We need to use our time, energy, and material things wisely. If we are not careful, less important things, such as education or money, will take up our precious time. Jesus said: “Keep on . . . seeking first the Kingdom.” (Matthew 6:33) The choices we make, our habits, our daily routine, and our goals all reveal what has first place in our hearts.
THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK WE CAN DO
22, 23. (a) What is the most important work we can have as Christians? (b) What will help us to enjoy our work?
22 The most important work we have is serving Jehovah and preaching the good news to others. (Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20) Like Jesus, we want to do all we can in this work. Some have moved to serve where there is a greater need for preachers. Others are learning a foreign language so that they can preach to people who speak that language. Talk with those who have done these things, and ask them about it. They will tell you that their lives have become happier and more meaningful.—Read Proverbs 10:22.
23 Today, many of us have to spend long hours at a job or even at several jobs simply to provide for our family’s basic needs. Jehovah knows this, and he appreciates everything we do to care for our family. So let us all continue to imitate Jehovah and Jesus by working hard, no matter what kind of work we do. And may we remember that our most important work is serving Jehovah and preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom. This will bring us true joy.