YourWork Matters to God


(Titleborrowed from the title of an excellent book by Doug Sherman andWilliam Hendricks)

Doyou love going to work? According to a Forbes Magazine article,“Finding Your Dream Job” JoelGarfinkle, founderof DreamJob Coaching inOakland, Calif says that “87%of workers are unhappy with their job.”

Whatwould be your dream job?

Accordingto are somedream jobs indicated by a recent survey





RaceCar Driver

VideoGame Tester

ChocolateTaste tester



LetterTurner on “Wheel of Fortune”

Sounlessyou plan to be a jet pilot or Vanna White,you’re going to have a difficult time finding a dream job, atleast according to this survey!

Sinceabout 15-20%of your entire life will be spent WORKING, wehad better gain God’s perspective concerning work!

Godcares about work!

Afterall, He CREATED work.

Ourwork involves MORE than what you do to get a paycheck!

Wecan learn much about work and our work ethic from the story ofJacob’s labor for Laban in Genesis 30:25-43.

AfterRachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me onmy way so I can go back to my own homeland. Give me my wives andchildren, for whom I have served you, and I will be on my way. Youknow how much work I’ve done for you.” But Laban said tohim, “If I have found favor in your eyes, please stay. I havelearned by divination that the Lordhas blessed me because of you.” He added, “Name yourwages, and I will pay them.” Jacob said to him, “You knowhow I have worked for you and how your livestock has fared under mycare. The little you had before I came has increased greatly, and theLordhas blessed you wherever I have been. But now, when may I dosomething for my own household?” “What shall I give you?”he asked. “Don’t give me anything,” Jacob replied.“But if you will do this one thing for me, I will go on tendingyour flocks and watching over them: Let me go through all your flockstoday and remove from them every speckled or spotted sheep, everydark-colored lamb and every spotted or speckled goat. They will be mywages. And my honesty will testify for me in the future, whenever youcheck on the wages you have paid me. Any goat in my possession thatis not speckled or spotted, or any lamb that is not dark-colored,will be considered stolen.” “Agreed,” said Laban.“Let it be as you have said.” That same day he removedall the male goats that were streaked or spotted, and all thespeckled or spotted female goats (all that had white on them) and allthe dark-colored lambs, and he placed them in the care of his sons.Then he put a three-day journey between himself and Jacob, whileJacob continued to tend the rest of Laban’s flocks. Jacob,however, took fresh-cut branches from poplar, almond and plane treesand made white stripes on them by peeling the bark and exposing thewhite inner wood of the branches. Then he placed the peeled branchesin all the watering troughs, so that they would be directly in frontof the flocks when they came to drink. When the flocks were in heatand came to drink, they mated in front of the branches. And they boreyoung that were streaked or speckled or spotted. Jacob set apart theyoung of the flock by themselves, but made the rest face the streakedand dark-colored animals that belonged to Laban. Thus he madeseparate flocks for himself and did not put them with Laban’sanimals. Whenever the stronger females were in heat, Jacob wouldplace the branches in the troughs in front of the animals so theywould mate near the branches, but if the animals were weak, he wouldnot place them there. So the weak animals went to Laban and thestrong ones to Jacob. In this way the man grew exceedingly prosperousand came to own large flocks, and maidservants and menservants, andcamels and donkeys.”(Genesis 30:25–43, NIV84)

Thisstory reveals how God blessed Jacob’s flocks and caused him toprosper,

inspite of Laban’s greed. The key verse in this story is Genesis30:43 “Inthis way the man grew exceedingly prosperous and came to own largeflocks, and maidservants and menservants, and camels and donkeys.”

Ourtheme today is that “God provides for us and demonstrates hislove by blessing our labor.”

That’sright – God blesses our labor! Let’s look at how thisimportant principle works in our lives today, based on Jacob’sexperiences in Genesis.


Thefirst place in the Bible where we see a reference to work is inGenesis 1:27-28. In these foundational verses we discover ouroriginal creation, and the reasons for which we were created.

First,we read that God created us for relationship with HIM. This isimplied in the fact that we are created in the IMAGEof GOD.

Second,we read that God created us for relationship with OTHERS. This isimplied in the phrase, “Maleand female hecreated THEM.” He did not create us to be alone, but rather inrelationships with others, the most intimate of those relationshipsbeing the marriage relationship.

Butthe third implication of our creation comes from God’s firstcommand to the newly created couple. They were told to “befruitful and multiply and fill the earth andsubdue it.” InGod’s command to bring forth children to fill God’s newand beautiful earth, he instructed the couple that they were to takecare of his new creation through their own efforts.

Notethat this command to take care of God’s garden came beforethe fall. Wewere created to work from the very beginning, and I think that thisimplies that we will work for God, taking care of the new heavens andnew earth that he will re-created after the Lord’s return.

Knowingthis reveals to us that work involves much more than simply thosethings that we do to earn a paycheck. WORK is anything that we do toCREATE and MANAGE GOD’S WORLD.

          1. taking care of our pets

          2. raising our children

          3. arranging our homes

          4. making things

          5. Employment

          6. creating music

          7. arranging flowers

          8. painting a bedroom

          9. preparing food for ourselves or others

Ialso find that the closer our labors are connected to to CREATION,the greater our satisfaction from our labor. This is why we manyfind great satisfaction in creating music, tending gardens, buildingthings, clearing land, or painting pictures. All these activitiesare the things that we do to reflect God’s creation or tomanage it in some way as to help improve our own lives or the livesand happiness of others.

Societytoday emphasizes entertainment. We are given the impression that we will be happiest when we areentertained and amused. But this provides little satisfaction forus. We are most satisfied when we are creatively using the thingsthat God has given us to improve our lives and provide for others.

Myencouragement to you is that if you are discouraged, depressed orfrustrated with life that you find some way to connect with God’screation and make use of the things that He has given. Make a flowerarrangement, create a lovely meal to share with others, paint apicture, write a poem, re-arrange the things God has given in yourhome, organize your clutter because God’s creation is orderly,not chaotic – all of these creation-driven activities put us inharmony with God’s command to “subdue the earth,”and his blessing is upon them!

Thesecond part about our work is that it BlessesOthers

Labanblessed on account of Jacob. Genesis30:43 “Inthis way the man grew exceedingly prosperous and came to own largeflocks, and maidservants and menservants, and camels and donkeys.” Laban understood that good things happened in his life and family onaccount of the blessings of God that flowed on Jacob. This sameprinciple applies in our lives today. The Bible teaches us thatGod’s blessings on a believer “spill over” to theunbelievers nearby. We see this three ways in Scripture”

HOMESare blessed on account of a believer.

Proverbs3:33 “TheLord’scurse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of therighteous.”

1Corinthians 7:14 “Forthe unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and theunbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband.Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they areholy.”

CITIESareblessed on account of a believer. Proverbs11:1 “TheLordabhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.”

NATIONSareblessed on account of a believer. Proverbs14:34 “Righteousnessexalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”


God’sBlessing outweighed Laban’s Opposition. For the second time,Laban tries to outsmat Jacob by inviting him to “Name yourwages” (see 30:28; 29:15).

Jacobasks for NOTHING (30:31). He trusts God. He agrees to continue towork for Laban in return for only the spotted and speckled portionsof the flock – a statistical minority that in human terms wouldcertainly weigh in Laban’s favor.

Jacob’sresponse is similar to ABRAHAM’S when he separated from Lot(Gen 13:11)

Jacob’soffer was something on the lines of FINANCIAL SUICIDE. “Hebargains only to claim those animals that are rare and not yet born”NAC K.A. Mathews, vol. 1B, Genesis 11:27–50:26, The New AmericanCommentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2005), 493.

LabanTAKES ADVANTAGE of Jacob’s generosity by separating all of theanimals, claiming his own and moving the herd far enough from Jacobthat Jacob’s starting point would be a very small portion ofthe flock. 30:35-37. “Forgreater security, Laban immediately removed all the animals ofabnormal color, giving them to his sons and not to Jacob. And as anadditional precaution he placed a three-day journey between them.Thus he was seeking to ensure that Jacob would have a difficult timeacquiring a large herd.” BKC. JohnF. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary, The BibleKnowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL:Victor Books, 1985), Ge 30:25–36.

Butin spite of Laban’s mest efforts, God’s Blessing came asJacob Labored. “Jacob did HIS BEST and GOD DID THE REST.”

Jacobtrusted God, but at the same time applied all of his best efforts andaccumulated experience to the task at hand. He didn’t just sitback and say, “now God bless me.” He trusted God and didhis part at the same time.

Jacobtakes the SPECKLED and SPOTTED animals. These were RECESSIVE TRAITS. “Thedominant color traits in Laban’s flocks and herds wereevidently white among the sheep, black among the goats, and brownamong the cattle. Most of the animals were of these colors, but therewere a few that were spotted and speckled among the cattle and goats,and brown among the sheep. It was of such as these that Jacob’spay would be.” Henry M. Morris, TheGenesis Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book ofBeginnings (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1976), 473.

JacobWORKED HARD, using ALL OF HIS KNOWLEDGE – Jacob’s responseteaches us that ultimately, the blessing comes from GOD and not ourefforts.

        1. 1 Corinthians 3:6–7 “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. ” “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”

        2. Psalm 75:6–7 “No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. ” “But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.”

        3. Deuteronomy 8:17–18 “You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” ” “But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.”

Someof Jacob’s efforts were ACCURATE. For example, Jacob knew thatrecessive jeans appear even when not evident in the parents. EXAMPLE: our grandson Gabriel has BLUE EYES, even though his parentsboth have BROWN EYES. Blue eyes are recessive traits and can appeareven if a both parents have brown eyes. Jacob was an observer andlearner and knew that he could breed more speckled and spottedanimals by carefully breeding the speckled and spotted together. Jacob knew to SEPARATE the spotted and speckled animals. Gen30:40-42

Butsome of Jacob’s information about breeding animals seems to beinaccurate. Jacob follows cultural ideas about breeding. Noscientific accuracy to putting stripped branches in front of theanimals (Gen 30:37-39).

Thereis a play on words here – the Hebrew word for “white” isLaban. Jacob put the sheep in front of “Laban branches”and the result was that the young were not white, but specked! “Jacobpeeled back the bark on the sticks and exposed the white (la?an), hesaw his flocks grow. He played the Laban game and won—heoutwitted “Whitey.” JohnF. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck andDallas Theological Seminary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: AnExposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), Ge30:37–43.

Thepoint is that GOD BLESSES our labors, even if we don’t geteverything perfectly right! This is comforting because God is simplylooking for our best efforts, not perfection.

Laban’sactions were SELFISH and UNFAIR, but they could not overcome God’sblessings!

Psalm118:6 “TheLordis with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

Psalm37:12–17 “Thewicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; “”but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day iscoming. ” “The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow tobring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright.” “But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and theirbows will be broken. ” “Better the little that therighteous have than the wealth of many wicked; ” “for thepower of the wicked will be broken, but the Lordupholds the righteous.”

  1. God is looking for SOMEONE to BLESS!

2Chronicles 16:9 “Forthe eyes of the Lordrange throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fullycommitted to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on youwill be at war.””

Malachi3:10 “Bringthe whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in myhouse. Test me in this,” says the LordAlmighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates ofheaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have roomenough for it.”

1Corinthians 10:31 “Sowhether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the gloryof God.”

Yearsago a young man began a small cheese business in Chicago. He failed.He was deeply in debt. “You didn’t take God into yourbusiness. You have not worked with Him,” said a Christianfriend to him. Then the young man thought, “If God wants to runthe cheese business, He can do it, and I’ll work for Him andwith Him!” From that moment, God became the senior partner inhis business. The business grew and prospered and became the largestcheese concern in the world! You ask the name of that young man? J.L. Kraft who became president of the Kraft Cheese Company! (Paul Tan,7,700 illustrations).

Ifyou apply the lessons from Jacob, you will find

greatjoy in your labor,

greatblessing from God

greatblessing to others

andgreat confidence as you see God provide your needs!