“Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters… doing the will of God from the heart” (Ephesians 6:5,6).
Surely what was true of servants and their masters applies equally to employees and their employers. Thus our text suggests that Christians involved in secular labor are “doing the will of God.” Of course, Paul says that we are to labor and work with our hands “the thing which is good” (Eph. 4:28). So unless you are an abortion doctor or some such thing, when you go to work, you are doing the will of God, and your work clothes are just as holy in the eyes of God as the vestments that Aaron wore when he entered the presence of the Lord, whether you wear a white collar or a blue collar.
Is it possible then that secular employment will earn rewards for Christians at the Judgment seat of Christ? The Apostle Paul says yes! If such labor is done “not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart,” and if it is done “as to the Lord, and not unto men,” then Paul unequivocally asserts “that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance” (Col. 3:22-24).
There is even evidence to suggest that those involved in secular labor who then faithfully support the ministry can look forward to rewards equal to those given to Christians directly engaged in the Lord’s work. God instructed Moses:
“And divide the prey into two parts; between them that took the war upon them, who went out to the battle, and between all the congregation” (Num. 31:27).
When “wicked men” tried to ignore this plain command of God (I Sam. 30:22), David insisted:
“…as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff; they shall part alike” (v. 23-25).
Secular labor constitutes half of the fourth commandment (Ex. 20:9,10), and is also a commandment of grace. When the Thessalonians got so excited about the Rapture that they quit their jobs in eager anticipation, Paul twice reminded them that he had “commanded” them not to do this (I Thes. 4:11; II Thes. 3:10). He then re-issued the command (II Thes. 3:12) and further commanded them to “withdraw” from any who wouldn’t obey these commands (II Thes. 3:6-10). Thus we see that working for a living is a commandment of God given to members of the Body of Christ through the Apostle Paul.
Finally, if you are considering entering the Lord’s work, you should know that throughout Scripture, God called to His service men who were already demonstrating their faithfulness and dependability in secular employment. God called Moses when he was tending his father-in-law’s sheep, Gideon as he was threshing wheat, David as he was shepherding his father’s flock and several of the apostles as they were fishing or mending their nets.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.