I hate yard work.
I have to do it to keep up our property, but I simply don’t enjoy it. I even bought a huge lawnmower to do it as fast as possible. And if there’s a plant I can’t run over with my lawnmower, I poison it with some kind of chemical.
You might be different than me, and live to work in the yard on the weekends. Even if you do, I guarantee there is something in your life you just don’t enjoy having to do. When it comes to tasks and responsibilities, we all have our likes and dislikes.
Regardless of our natural preferences, not learning to work hard is not ok. The truth is, God shares quite a bit in Scripture about hard work. From Genesis to Revelation, He lays out His clear expectation of work. As parents, it’s our responsibility to make sure our children understand that expectation.
Take cleaning gutters for an example. I have four sons and I try to take the time to teach them how to clean out gutters. I show them where the ladder is. I show them how to put the right kind of oil inside the fuel and mix it before filling the backpack blower. (Most importantly, I show them how to take the end of the blower and shove it down the gutter spout to watch the frogs blow out across the yard).
But this is not something I expect them to naturally do ungrudgingly. It’s something I have to teach them to do graciously.
Scripture tells us that no matter what God may have you do, whether you’re running a business or cleaning out the gutters, there is honor in doing it.
This means we have to take the time to teach our children about work ethic. That lesson doesn’t come when they take their first part-time job as a high schooler. It has to come before that- as you begin to share chores and household responsibilities. We want to show them that while it may look medial and it may not be much fun… there are honor and wisdom in it.
Here are three biblical truths about work that I encourage you to share with your children…
1. God’s will is to work
God designed us to work. This truth is demonstrated in Proverbs 6:6-8 where God uses even the tiniest animal to teach us about His design for work.
“Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.”
Have you ever kicked the top of an anthill?
There’s no protest or negotiation. Nobody stops and looks around and waits for someone to tell them what they need to do. The moment the ant bed is compromised, the ants immediately start working. They’re taking initiative on their own. They’re designed that way by God. It’s through this scripture, God’s telling us there’s a lesson to be learned from that.
2. God’s warning for work
This is an easy one.
Ask your child this… What did God do after creating for six days? He rested. But why?
God never grows tired. He never sleeps. He has no end to his energy. He’s fully sufficient… so why did He rest?
He rested on the seventh day as an example to his expectation of us, that our life may be in balance.
Read this carefully. God says we should absolutely work—but not to the point that work dominates your life. If you live for your work, it’s very hard to live for the Lord.
3. God’s way for work
The work we do, and the work we eventually teach our children to do, should look differently because of our faith in Jesus. But why?
Perhaps the best answer comes from Paul’s writings about bondservants in Ephesians 6:5-7.
“Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a goodwill as to the Lord and not to man.”
Here Paul is talking about having the same work ethic when people are watching, as when no one is watching because when you’re under someone’s authority, you obey them as you would Christ. Essentially, God is the one who calls you to do your best at that project. God calls you to show up to work on time and with a good attitude. God is the one who calls you to clean those gutters.
The world says to work hard so I can be paid more. But Christians say I work hard for the glory of Christ because he gave me the body to do this job.
Before I can encourage you to encourage your children to have strong work ethics, I have to remind you of something.
The reason we are called to work is: our God is a working God.
In fact, the scripture indicates elsewhere that Jesus is in Heaven right now preparing a place for us and long before we ever came into this world, He was working to redeem us. The idea of work is not something God created for humans. It’s not punishment. It is, in its simplest form, another reflection of his character. We have a moving, working, active God in every moment of our lives.
Find the importance and the priority in teaching this to your children and they might just clean those gutters with a different state of mind.