Session 8: Work


Read this before your meet-up. It will give you some great background information to help make the most of your time together.

In some ways, work frames the entire story of Scripture. When God created Adam and Eve, he gave them an important job to “work and keep” the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15) and to “have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28). Work is not a result of the fall. Even before sin entered the world, our first parents were working as farmers and gardeners, cultivating the ground and ruling over the earth.


Work is not a result of sin, but the difficulty of our work is. When Adam sinned, God cursed him by cursing his work: “cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:17–19). After the fall, Adam was still working as a farmer, but his work was now grueling and even fruitless at times. What was once a joy and ease became a curse.


Today, when we feel tired, burned out, unappreciated, stuck, or bored in our work, we should be reminded of this curse. Things are not the way they are meant to be, including our offices and job sites. But these frustrations shouldn’t lead to complaining, but crying out for Jesus to return to make everything right again.


Jesus did not come to rescue us from work or give us an eternal vacation, Jesus came to redeem everything broken by sin, including our work. When Jesus returns, we will continue to work, cultivating and ruling over the new earth that he will make. The prophet Isaiah looked forward to this day: “They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity, for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD, and their descendants with them” (Isaiah 65:23). Sin will no longer frustrate our work and the ground will no longer bring forth thorns and thistles.


As we work, we are in the middle of this story. Christ has made us new and we are looking forward to the day that he will make all things new. Being a follower of Christ is not just something that we “do” on Sunday mornings. Jesus is Lord of our entire lives, including 9–5 on Monday–Friday. Whatever work the Lord has planned for us, we should do it in a distinctly Christian way.

Here are four ways that Jesus will transform your work.
  1. Jesus will change the way you see the purpose of your work. Jesus said that the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). We work, not merely to make a lot of money or accumulate power for ourselves, but to alleviate suffering and serve others. Your work is for the love of your neighbor.
  2. Jesus will change the way you see the practice of your work. We have to work hard, because Christ has called us to work with excellence (Colossians 3:23). Because our work is for the love of our neighbor, we should work hard at it. We do not seek the path of least-resistance, but the path of most-glory-to-God.
  3. Jesus will change the way you see the place of your work. No matter where you work in DC, it is likely that there are many non-Christians in your workplace. These image bearers are not merely your co-workers; they are lost people heading to hell. God has placed you in their lives to share the truth of Christ with them.
  4. Jesus will change the way you see the possibilities of your work. Today there are hundreds of countries where Christianity is prohibited and Christian workers cannot enter. For example, there are 5.5 million people in Afghanistan who have no access to the gospel. Vocational missionaries cannot get into Afghanistan, the government will not let them. But Afghanistan is clamoring for healthcare professionals, lawyers, English teachers, and more. Christians can use their marketable skills to gain creative access to closed countries, bringing the gospel with them. JD Greear says, “Whatever you do for work, do it well for the glory of God, and do it somewhere strategic for the mission of God.”


Seeing the Kindness of God

The center of the Christian worldview is the kindness and mercy of God, which is seen supremely in the work of Christ (Exodus 34:6–7, 1 Corinthians 2:2), so every session will include a reminder of how this topic points us to God’s unfailing kindness.

As Christians, we recognize that we cannot do anything without Jesus (John 15:5). Even our ability to work is a gift of God’s grace.

Moses warned the Israelites to resist arrogance in their work, recognizing that they could only work with God’s help: “Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth…” (Deuteronomy 8:17–18). God has given you unique gifts and skills, enabling us to work and exercise dominion over the face of the earth.

Reflection Questions
Answer these before your meet-up.
  1. How does your work serve others? How are you “loving your neighbor” as you work?
  2. Why is it important to remember that God enables us to work?
  3. Who is one non-Christian in your workplace? How can you start a conversation with them about your faith?
  4. Have you ever considered using your job to move overseas? What skills do you have that might be attractive to a closed country?
  5. What is one opportunity that you have to do your work with excellence?

Meet-Up Guide

review your action step
From your last meetup
  1. What non-Christian are you discipling (or hope to disciple)? How is it going?
  2. How did fighting temptation go this week? What was helpful? What wasn’t?
  3. What lies are you tempted to believe about this sin? What is the truth?
review the pre-reading
Answer these questions
  1. Why is it important to remember that God enables us to work?
  2. What do you think about Christians using their jobs to creatively access closed countries? Why is this important? Why could it be challenging? What opportunities might your skills give you?
  3. Why is it challenging to share your faith in your workplace? Why is it easy?
Colossians 3:22–4:1

3:22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. 4:1 Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

study questions
Answer these questions in your meet-up
  • What commands are given in this passage?
  • What two kinds of obedience are described in 3:22? What are the differences? What would this look like in your life?
  • Put 3:25 in your own words. How does this verse fit into the rest of the passage?
  • What reason is given for servants to work hard? What does this mean?
  • What reasons are given for servants to obey?
  • What reasons are given to masters to be fair?
application questions
Answer these questions in your meet-up
  • What’s the difference between working “as a people-pleaser” and working with a sincere heart? Are you tempted to work “as a people-pleaser?” How have you seen this temptation in your own work?
  • What opportunities do you have to work with excellence in your job?
  • Do you have anyone who reports to you in your work? How can you apply 4:1 in your workplace?
  • No matter your job, “you are serving the Lord Christ” (3:34). How can this fact change the way you view your work?
Create an action step
Create one together
  • Refuse to complain about your job. Anytime you feel yourself tempted to complain about work, thank God for your job and the ability to work.
  • What are some areas of your job that you aren’t motivated to do with excellence (whether because of difficulty, monotony, or something else)? What steps can you take to serve better in these areas?
  • Start a spiritual conversation with a coworker.
  • Search online to find other countries where you could find a job (based on your education, career, skillset, etc.). Then look at websites like or to see what needs are in that country.
action step:

This week, I will ______________.

(Remember, be specific!)

Pray together
Pray together to close the meeting

Thank God for enabling you to work and pray that he would strengthen you to serve him with excellence.