The Value of Work

Next to them the Tekoites made repairs; but their nobles did not put their shoulders to the work of their Lord. (Nehemiah 3:5 NKJV)
When Nehemiah was building the wall around Jerusalem, a short statement is recorded, which should speak volumes to us about the value of work.
I once led a discipleship training school for a missionary training organization. On one occasion, we accepted a student from Nigeria who had been a spiritual leader in the church in that country. In his culture, he did not serve others; they served him.
We built a two-hour work duty into our daily schedule. When there was a prayer meeting or teaching session, our Nigerian student was one of the first to arrive. When it came to work-duties, he was difficult to find. One particular Saturday, we had a workday where I labored with the students on a dirty job.  Coming back from the work detail, the student from Africa, looked into my dusty face and said, “very practical Christianity.” He was finally starting to get it. Christianity is more readily caught than taught.
God rebukes the Tekoite nobles. The commentator Matthew Henry says that “they would not come under the discipline of being obliged to perform this service. They thought that the dignity and liberty of their rank exempted them from getting their hands dirty and serving God.”
The action of the Tekoites makes it evident that they believed that specific tasks had more value than others. Our work has value because God has called us to do it, and we are a person of value doing it. Satisfaction from a job well done is a separate issue from value.  We should not seek to get value from our work but to bring value to it.
The Tekoites were operating in the ways of the world, which says you have worth according to what you do. God does not see big or little people; he sees people. He majors on why we do what we do, not what we do. Whatever task God has called you to do, it has great value if you are doing it for him. Such will free us from the bondage of the Tekoite nobles, who looked to people rather than God for their acceptance.
It never devalues you to do what God has called you to do.
Ken Barnes, the author of  “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
Email:  [email protected]
Ken Barnes’ Book Site
Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Leave a Reply