Work in the Present Situation and Why People Work

Work is part of human life and people work due to the following;

It is a personal activity, people do not work by instinct but choice and this distinguishes them from animals.

People work to obtain basic needs of life like shelter, food and clothing.

They work due to economic factors; to earn a living, support the family and to get what one wants.

To accumulate wealth and satisfy luxuries of life; buy land, set up structures and obtain what can make life comfortable.

People also work to build up the kingdom of God through preaching, ministering, teaching, guidance and counseling.

People work for money and money is seen as offering a wider choice to satisfy new needs and aspirations and seeking new adventures unknown in the past.

People work to develop talents and skills.

It is God's command that we should work since he worked for 6 days and rested on the seventh day.

Some people to be recognized in society i.e. gain status. One can be recognized by the work one does and where one works.

It is another way of fitting in society especially in Urban areas like people have no place otherwise they may be suspected for evil ways of survival.

To help ones family members if girls and boys have household cores expected of them and even outside the compound.

People work to help others e.g. street children, elderly, orphans, destitute etc

Man works for the good of society e.g. medical workers help the sick, teachers help to teach people skills and morals, engineers help improve on technology and telecommunication etc.

To co-create or to bring new things and make life in the world easier e.g. inventions of machines, telephones, music systems etc

Problems associated with work

These new job opportunities have led to problems / difficulties in work as noted:

Work is competitive and leads to unemployment for those who fail to achieve them/ work.


Desire for jobs creates rural-urban migration and agriculture is left to very old men and women in the villages which also causes others to be loiterers, bad company etc.

Those with education qualifications fail to get high salaried white collar jobs and this leads to disappointments, frustrations and loss of hoe.

Work can become meaningless for a worker i.e. factions stop any time or one doing a job he has no interest in.

Some people become work oriented neglecting social, religious obligations.

Work has robbed men and women of their creative spirit and this has caused industrialization, division of labour, specialization.

Work becomes monotonous; being done over and over.

Technology makes people profit minded than human needs environment.

There is exploitation, corruption and other injustices such as nepotism, tribalism, and racism.

Today people work according to time tables, under managers, supervisors and working is conditional and sometimes dehumanizing.

Work today is individualistic and not communal as before.

Work causes sexual harassment where girls/women have to undergo "carpet interviews" i.e. give in to sex to get jobs or be promoted.

It leads to exploitation inform of time, work load and conditions of work.

It also causes family neglect, where distances are widened between the bread earner and ones family which also brings about unfaithfulness, STDS etc.

Biblical Teaching about Work

Right from the beginning man was created to work and work is essential to his development and development of the world to fulfil his needs "Be fruitful, multiply and fill earth and subdue it, and have dominion" (Gen. 1 :28).

The Lord God put man in the Garden of Eden to till or care for it (Gen. 2:5).

In the Ten Commandments both work and rest are shown as God's plan for man kind "six days you shall labour ... but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the lord your God" (Ex. 20:9).

Work normally takes up most of a person's waking hours: "man goes forth to his work and to his labour until evening" (Ps1 04:23).

God's activity in creation is spoken of as work and that he rested on the seventh day (Gen. 2:2).

The work of creation is compared to the work of a porter in Isaiah 45:9.

God blesses work i.e. skill in craftsmanship is a gift from God (Ex. 35:30-35, 36:2)

Laziness is condemned especially in Prov. 6:6-11,26:14-15.

The hardworking wife is praised (Prov. 31 :27)

In building of Solomon's temple there is admiration for work well done (1 kg 6:7).

For people who think that work is a curse arises from Gen 3: 19" in sweat of your face you shall eat bread but this comes after the fall when work becomes a burden but otherwise work is good.

The Old Testament teaches that work is good and man should not be overworked.

The purpose of the Sabbath is to give people the opportunity a better opportunity to worship (Ex 23:12), Deut 5:12-14).

The hired labourer should be paid the source day (Lev. 19: 13) and must not be exploited (Jer.22:15-17).

If God's people are faithful to the covenant with God he will bless their work and make it profitable (Deut. 14:29; 16:15; 28:12; Ps 128:1-2).

The prophets look forward for the time when the rule of God will be Supreme so that man can fully enjoy the results of work (lsa 62:8, Amos 9: 14).

On the other hand, men turn away from God making things go wrong in the field of work e.g. they enslave others like the Jews in Egypt 9 Heb. 1 :8-14; 2: 11-15, 5:6-15).

The kings of Israel and Judah used their power to make people do forced labour (1 Sam 8:10-18; 2 Sam 12:31, 1Kg 5:13-18; 12:1-14).

Prophets condemned those who employ labour without payment (Jer. 22: 13) and those who oppress the poor with excessive taxes (Amos 5: 11).

The O.T attitude of work is different from what is found in other parts of the ancient world where the ruling class tendered to despise working for ones living, especially in manual work and craftsmanship e.g. the ancient Roman writer Cicero, said that "no gentleman will work for a wage, no gentleman will buy or sell, either whole sale or retail". "No workshop can have any culture about it".

In the New Testament, Jesus like the father, God, was a worker who spent most of time as an artisan.

Because of the above, people of Nazareth were astonished that such wonderful teaching should come from a carpenter (Mk. 6:3). He had been in a craftsmanship's family Mt. 13:55).

In his teaching, Jesus draws examples from the world of work such as the shepherd (In. 15: 1), the doctor (Mk 2: 17), the sower (Mk 4:3).

Even the work of winning people to the kingdom of God is corrupted to a harvester's work (Mt 9:37, In. 4:34) orthe fisherman (Mt. 4: 19).

The total behaviour of Jesus indicates that work is normal and food activity of man (Lk 9:62).

St. Paul, set example of a worker by not being a burden to the community with whom he was staying; by using his own hands as a tentmaker (Act 18:3,20:34; 1 Cor 4; 12).

Work is seen by Paul as a duty and that it is wrong for people to be social parasites "those who do not want to work, should not eat (2 Thes 3:10).

He stresses that' let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labour, doing honest work with his hands (Eph. 4:28).

Thessalonians seem to have wanted to abandon work, expecting the end of the world as being near (1The 4:11,2 Thes. 3:6-12) so Paul expresses that we do not know when the end will come though the present order is not forever. Man should use his talents property 9Mt. 25:14-20).

God may call some people to leave their work and follow him (Mk. 1: 16).

The OT and NT view work as good, enjoyable and fulfilling. God blesses it and one should do it with diligence in response of work for salvation of mankind.

Work is healthy since it brings relationships with others, gives one sense of belonging and value so vital for rnar.s mental and group health.

Nevertheless, work is painful e.g. working on land requires a lot of labour, factory work can be repetitive, boring and meaningless due to monotony.

"Work is a social, religious and personal activity" Discuss this statement with reference to Christian attitude/teaching about work

It is true that work is a social, religious and personal activity because of the following:

Work is personal activity and is one of the ways/things that distinguish man from animals.

This is because men work with a purpose and not by instinct.

Work sustains human life without work man cannot have food, shelter and clothing. Work is therefore natural to man (2Thes. 3:10; Eph. 4:23).

Work is a social activity, usually done in cooperation with others and for the wellbeing of the individual, family and society as a whole.

Work is important to man economically, politically, socially, culturally and religiously. Right from creation, God assigned  man responsibility of looking after the environment. This makes work essential to man (Gen. 2: 15; Gen 1 :28).

It is necessary for fulfilling human desires and enjoyment. It leads to administration e.g. the building of Solomon's temple (Kg 6:7).

Hard work earns one praise while the lazy ones are condemned (Prov. 6: 11). In the ten commandments both work and rest are shown as parts of God's plan for mankind "six days shall he work and the seventh day is the Sabbath of the lord (Exod. 20:9).

Working is Godly; in that it is God who instituted work when he created the universe, 20 believers have to follow the examples of the creator (God) by working diligently.

Jesus was basically a worker and in his teaching, he draws examples from the field of work; the shepherd, the shrewd judge, the farmer (Jn.10:1-2; Mk2:17, Mt4:19).

St. Paul worked as a tentmaker to earn a living and support his missionary work (Act 18:3, 20:34).

Christians perceive work not just as a way of personal enrichment but also the service to God and fellow man.

Disciples where taken from various fields of work such as fishermen, tax collectors.

Work helps one to improve his or her talents.

Paul says those who do not want to work should not eat. (2Thes. 3: 10).

The work of creation is compared to the porter in Isaiah.

Some work to be able to help others; especially the unfortunate ones like orphans, elderly, handicapped etc.

Payment should be identical to the work done. A worker deserves his pay.

(See more points from Biblical teaching about work)

"Work is a curse and punishment" Discuss this statement from the Christian point of view


The stand is that work is not a curse but a blessing.

Give all positive aspects/teachings of work in the Bible

However, people regard work as a curse due to the evils attached to it:-

Exploitation by over working, harshness to workers

Corruption/embezzlement of funds

Under payments or no payment at all.

Unfair promotions/demotions or no promotion at all.

Segregation based on ethnicity, religion, social status, physical, nepotism or tribalism.

In Gen. 3:19 work is seen as a punishment given to Adam due to sin.

Sometimes, work leads to enslavement of some by others.

Prophets had condemned those who employ workers and fail to pay them.

When one works had and receives nothing in return.

All cases of child labour express work as a curse of punishment

Jews were enslaved in Egypt and suffered at (Ex. 18: 14,2: 11-15).

If one conditioned to work in order to eat work will be as if a curse of punishment.

For those who are born lazy and feel it is a punishment see work as a curse.

"Work is a blessing of creation and not a punishment for sinners as many ill informed biblical readers think"

a) Comment on the above statement

b) In which ways can work become a punishment?

The young people and work

Many youth today dislike work and look at it as a punishment or a curse. This is because they have been brainwashed through western type of education.

The education and training received makes them to think that it will automatically lead them to white collar jobs.

Young people from rich families tend to think that they will take over their parents' wealth after death.

More interested in leisure and good time with peers other than doing work e.g. by watching videos and attending to dances.

Any piece of work which is strenuous and wearing is hated by the youth.

People work to get rich in the shortest time possible but with minimum effort hence they resort to dubious ways of earning a living.

Manual work is regarded as something fit for illiterates.

People look at work as the only means of earning money. Any work they do people will demand payments e.g. pushing one's ear grounded. Sometimes some can create situations of cars getting grounded so that they can earn out of it.

Today work is increasingly becoming impersonal especially among the youth. They work as if being forced and they do not have any bother as to whether it succeeds or not.

In urban families, many young people have been conditioned to the use of house maids who do all domestic work for them.

In some homes they even have shamba boys who do all the cultivation, harvests, drying and organize the storage without the youth getting involved.

They therefore look at work as a curse or punishment and not a means of earning a living.

Modern education is competitive such that children are made busy even throughout the holiday through watching or extra teaching.