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Why We Work

In the late 1660s, Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to re-design St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. According to legend, one day he visited the construction site of this great edifice and was unrecognized by the workers. Wren walked about the site, asking several of the men what they were doing. One worker replied, “I am cutting a piece of stone.” A second worker responded, “I’m earning five shillings two pence a day.” A third, however, had a different perspective: “I am helping Christopher Wren build a magnificent cathedral to the glory of God.” What a contrast in the attitude and motivation of that worker!

Why we do what we do is extremely important, particularly when it comes to our working lives and careers. That’s why Paul challenged the Ephesians to do their work, “not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men” (Eph. 6:6-7).

If we do our work merely to earn a paycheck or satisfy a supervisor, we will fall short of the highest motivation—doing our best as evidence of our devotion to God. So, why do we work? As that laborer told Wren, we work “to the glory of God.”

Be not always wanting
Some other work to do,
But gratefully perform the task
The Lord has given you. —Anon.
No matter who signs your paycheck, you are really working for God.