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Life Is All About Doing Purposeful Work, Ephesians 4:28

Updated on April 2, 2020
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Tim is a freelance writer, poet, artist and storyteller. He always tries to find and include lessons for everyone in his writing.

Man is called to work

In Ephesians 4:28 Paul offers these stern words to certain members of the church “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.”

Paul is calling out a certain group of people who he deems are stealing from the church. What they were doing was taking handouts from the church not because they couldn't work but because they refused to work. Paul points out their misdeeds because they are in essence stealing from others who are really in need.

There is a deeper meaning to the verse though. The second part of the verse deals with the idea that we must do purposeful work so we “may have something to share with those in need.” In order to give back to others we must be willing to work not just for ourselves but others also.

It's All About Why We Work

Paul is upset because he wants those who can work to work so they can help those who can't, like the widows and orphans. Work is something God calls us to do each day. Of course with a little rest on Sunday. Here are some Bible verses about work:

  • Proverbs 12:11, "Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense."
  • Proverbs !2:24, Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor.
  • Genesis 2:15, The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

The last verse shows we were created to be doers. Which is what we do. We spend our days, nights, weekends, months doing, doing, doing. When we aren't doing something we think about what we could be doing. We make to do lists, which for some reason we never seem to do because other stuff we have to do comes up.

If we can't find something to do we ask other people if we can help them do something. You would think with all this doing going on we would be getting something done, but that is usually not the case, because we never seem to finish what we start because we are to busy doing something else.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do and he will establish your plans

— Proverbs 16:3

We Are Set Apart For God's Work

The problem, we have replaced God's work with our own work. We have created schedules of our own making which are so filled with stuff we think we have to do that as Paul asserts, we forget we are supposed to be doing God’s work.

When we are doing too much for ourselves and not enough for the Lord we are guilty of stealing service time from God? Also when we fill our schedules with frivolous activities, can we truthfully say to God we are doing something useful with our hands?

Here's to freeing some time in our schedules to hear God and do God's work. Think about it.

Purposeful Work

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Timothy Whitt

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    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      9 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Very very thought provoking. It makes me re-think some of my habits.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 

      9 years ago from Fontana

      Ouch! This hurts! It's convicting.

    working

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