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3 reasons why I should work hard today

| by Phil Wood

While most other names are less flattering, one thing the clients at the homeless center call me is Bossman. It is usually in the context of me doing a menial task and someone blurting out, “You are the Bossman! You should not be doing that kind of work.”

On the outside, my pious response is “Only God is the Bossman.”

On the inside, my egotistical response is “That’s how you get to be the Bossman.”

While I have never been accused of working smart, I would hate to be guilty of not working hard.

Years ago as a teen, I recall a sermon from a megachurch pastor with the big idea being the harder I work, the luckier I get. I am still challenged to figure out what prooftext he used to support his proposition, but biblically sourced or not, it is a general truth that is easy to support anecdotally.

In a recent study of the lives of two great preachers from the past, George Whitefield and John Wesley, one common denominator stands out regarding these two intertwined lives. While the finer points of Calvinism nearly brought these otherwise like-minded and congenial friends to blows, what they had in common was a crazy work ethic that generally involved preaching multiple times a day, every day, for months in a row. When they were nearing exhaustion, others would prop them up on their horses, and they would be off again to another town.

A common theme in the apostle Paul’s letters is a work ethic that could not be disrespected. Whether to set the right example or out of necessity, it was not uncommon for Paul to do any type of work that was necessary at any time, day or night.

While preachers generally top job satisfaction polls, we are not a group generally known for hard work. After all, how hard can a job be when you only work one day a week?

Lighten up, it’s just a joke!

However, here are three great reasons to work hard today:

1. To avoid burnout. 

John MacArthur observes that burnout is a selective ailment. “Whoever heard of a ditch digger,”he asks, “getting burned out?” Burnout is not from hard work but from the lack of results. 

Sadly, many of us are not seeing the results we desire because we are not putting in the time that is required. Knowing the hard work of study, MacArthur admonishes pastors to “Stay in your seat!”

2. For job satisfaction. 

Hard work is its own reward. Proverbs reads, “In all hard work there is profit”(14:23), and part of the value is the good feeling you have when you do a job well.

3. For greater opportunity. 

Another Proverb says, “See a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings!” (22:29). Those who are faithful in little are certainly given greater opportunities. People respect and trust others who work hard. Laziness is never esteemed.

When my homeless friends show concern that I am working too hard, I reassure them to try and enjoy a little rest. I know I have a home to go to when they will still be braving the elements.

With ministry friends, however, our pushing on together is rooted in the belief that we can rest when we get home in heaven!

Photo source: istock 

Phil Wood

Phil Wood pastors Fellowship Church in Carol Stream, Illinois and is director of The Wayside Center, a homeless outreach in the Chicago area.

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O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1 (ESV)
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