Part 3 -Livelihood in the Kingdom
Note: This series is adapted from the series being used by FGB Gatekeepers Singapore.
- To know our livelihood is totally dependent on God’s provisions in His Kingdom
- To honour God and all people in our work life and livelihood
- To love God and our neighbours through the work of our hands
- To fear God, submitting to those who rule over us in the workplace, so that we are perceived as credible in the marketplace as good stewards of God and are a people of good reputation.
1 Peter 2: 9-23
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
Living before the World
Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honourable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Submission to Government
Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honour all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
Submission to Masters
Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us,[f] leaving us[g] an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” Colossians 3:23
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” Ecclesiastes 9:10
“Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.” Proverbs 22:29
“Let Your work appear to Your servants, and Your glory to their children. Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:16-17
Work is God’s love made visible in the marketplace, manifested in our vocation (high calling) and aligned to the good, acceptable and perfect will of God for our lives. By definition, our livelihood and work is a means of making a living. It encompasses our capabilities, assets, income and activities required to secure the necessities of life. In Christ, we are able to align our high calling to our life, living and livelihood, opportunity and ability to do what we love and be supported economically while doing so.
Generally, people are looking for significance, work life with a purpose, not survival nor just success. Through our livelihood, we can combine our thirst for meaningful achievements with a commitment to live out our kingdom values, making a difference and social contribution and “seek the welfare of the city.” Jeremiah 29:7
What is holding us back to fulfil our high calling or vocation of God in Christ Jesus? Philippians 3:12-14
• God and business incongruence
• Sacred and Secular work incompatibility
• The same Jesus who told the story of rewarding workers who multiplied their talents warned that it is easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.
• Business at its worst represents a false, all consuming “god” that demands your time, talents and energy that leaves you depleted, discouraged and distanced from all that really matters.
We all have choices to make in life.
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24
Either we love God and people and use money or love money and use God and people!
Wherever we work, whatever we do, we are to do as unto the Lord. Work is worship (Avodah = Hebrew word meaning work and worship). Business is our mission.
Do as “unto the Lord“. Colossians 3:23
Our LIVELIHOOD is a key requirement of all believing stewards of God.
“If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10
long will you slumber; O sluggard?
When will you rise from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to sleep—
So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler,
And your need like an armed man. Proverbs 6:9-11
Christians generally have a warped way of looking at work. Unless someone is working in the “ministry” they see their work as secular. This view of work distorts the Kingdom world view. All us of have gifts and talents that we contribute to humanity and make a difference to community.
Key reason why some employers have a hard time retaining Christian employees…they see their work as a means of time spend praying and preparing for church weekend services and not a career calling on their lives. Some are lazy, as though they are waiting for Jesus to return. We need to differentiate between “pulpit” ministry and “marketplace” living and livelihood.
Our career is our calling
Our work is our worship
Our placement is our parish
Our position is our pulpit
There is a distortion of the concept of “tent making” as the Apostle Paul’s way of work to fund his ministry.
“I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way, by labouring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:33-35
In fact Paul managed his time “reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshippers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happen to be there.” (Operating his SME (small and medium-sized) enterprise). Acts 17:17
Livelihood and work is spiritual activity. In our work, we are made in the image of God, Who Himself is a worker, leader, manager, a creator, a developer, a steward, healer and deliverer. To be a believer is to be a co-labourer and co-heir with Jesus in the community of humanity.
The Bible teaches us that jobs, life, living and livelihood offer more than temporal fulfilment and earthly rewards. Our works follow us.
Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labours, and their works follow them.” Revelation 14:13.
In fact the Lord has this to say to the seven churches in the book of Revelation “I know your works…”
Jesus used parables about work to teach us to grow spiritually.
- These parables deal with money, with completing tasks, with fruitful stewardship of a job, and with honest, ethical and emotional dealings at work.
- They all teach character development in the context of relating to God and others.
- They teach work ethics based on love under God.
God@Work [From Genesis]
- God created the heavens and the earth, day and night, the galaxies and stars, garden with grass, herbs and fruit trees and every living thing that moves.
- Then God created man in His own image and likeness. He made women, following.
- Then God rested from all His work which He had created and made, on the seventh day.
Jesus Works, Father Works
- “But Jesus answered them, “My Father is still working, and I also am working.” John 5:17
- Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do, for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these that you may marvel.” Matthew 5:19-20
God dictates His LIVELIHOOD standards expected of the sons and daughters of the Most High God.
1. THE RESPONSIBLE WORKER
- If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10
- If someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 1 Timothy 3:5
- But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8
- Let him who stole, steal no longer, but rather let him labour, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need. Ephesians 4:28 Work to get out of poverty
2. THE WORSHIPFUL WORKER
Work is worship. Work is workplace activity unto God (Avodah)
Labour is the premier expression of worship on earth and every believer is a minister.
Worship in the workplace has to do with both being in His presence and realising that He is in our presence as promised (Matthew 28:20B) right in the midst of our daily marketplace activities.
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to man. Colossians 3:23
3. THE ANOINTED WORKER
The law of the first mention indicates the importance God places on the subject matter. In this case, it is about the appointment of Bazalel anointed of God for service.
“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: see I have called by name Bazalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship to design artistic works…and have appointed with him other artisans…and I have put wisdom in the hearts of all the gifted artisans, that they may make all that I have commanded you.” Exodus 31:1-6
In like manner, the seven appointed over food distribution business in Acts 6 were men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom and full of faith.
As for the reign of Jesse’s Offspring, the seven-fold Spirits were poured upon Him.
The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding
The Spirit of counsel and might
The Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. Isaiah 11:2
4. THE SKILLFUL WORKER
Character, Charisma, Competence, Commitment Heart, Head, Hands and Habits
Those whom God used in the cities and nations as workplace “ministers” were skilled in their field of expertise, besides being filled with God’s Holy Spirit. Huram, the Craftsman is a good example.
“Now King Solomon sent and brought Huram from Tyre. He was the son of a widow from the tribe of Naphtali and his father was a man of Tyre, a bronze worker; he was filled with wisdom and understanding and skill in working with all kinds of bronze work. So he came to King Solomon and did all his work.” 1 Kings 7:13-14
5. THE EXCELLENT WORKER
“Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men.” Proverbs 22:29
Joseph, excelled in leadership and administration
Daniel, served with integrity and excellence
6. THE EFFICIENT WORKER
Take lessons from Jethro. Moses did the right things but did not do things right; he was effective but not efficient.
“Moses said to Jethro, his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of the Lord.” So Moses’ father-in-laws said to him. “The thing that you do is not right. Both you and this people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you, you are not able to perform it by yourself. Listen now to my voice. I will give you counsel and God will be with you. Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. Moreover, you shall select from all the people, able men such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness and place such over them to be rulers over thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.” Exodus 18:17-21;25
7. THE GIFTED WORKER
“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29
God gives us the unction to function, the anointing for the appointing and the giftings for the taskings.
Moses had a high calling from God, but he complained that he was inadequate for the task.
So the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand? He said, “A rod.” “And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs” And Moses took the rod of God in his hand. Exodus 4:2, 17, 20
Miraculous signs and wonders followed whenever Moses lifted up the rod, dedicated to the glory of God.
8. THE SPIRIT-DIRECTED WORKER
When David inquired of the Lord, he received war plans and strategies and he won all the battles. Not only do we receive sonship through the Spirit, children of God are led by the Spirit of God. Romans 8:14-16
“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3
Blessings on Obedience
“Now it shall come to pass if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord, your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord, your God.” Deuteronomy 28:1-2
9. THE SUBMISSIVE WORKER
Submission to the Father
Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do, for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these that you may marvel.” Matthew 5:19-20
Submission to Government
Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 1 Peter 2:13-16
Submission to Masters
Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 1 Peter 2:18-19
10. THE HONOURABLE WORKER
… having your conduct honourable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:12
So Ahimelech answered the king and said, “And who among all your servants is as faithful as David, who is the king’s son-in-law, who goes at your bidding, and is honourable in your house? 1 Samuel 22:14
His work is honourable and glorious, And His righteousness endures forever. Psalm 111:3
Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honourable, though we may seem disqualified. 2 Corinthians 13:7
Take a moment now and recall a defining moment when the word of God changed the direction of your life.
(You could point to a number of occasions.)
These kinds of testimonies find a very natural place in your Life, Living and Livelihood.
It is no secret what God’s word will do for you!
- God@Work by Rich Marshall
- Anointed For Business by Ed Silvoso
- Jesus, CEO by Laurie Beth Jones
[*Please note – ALL Scriptures quoted are from New King James Version unless otherwise stated]