By Mobis Philipose
Growing up as a typical Indian boy who loved his cricket, I often thought to myself, ‘If only I didn’t have to take these periodic breaks to do my homework and study. If only Adam and Eve hadn’t eaten that fruit and sinned, life would have been so perfect. I could have spent most of my time playing. I would have just needed to pluck some fruit when I was
hungry. Work wouldn’t have been part of man’s dictionary at all. Ah, why did they have to eat that fruit?’ 
But as the Bible says, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put my childish ways behind me.” Having grown up in a traditional Christian household, I wasn’t aware of most of the Biblical truths about work. Becoming part of the Gateway Ministries family brought a lot of clarity for me in this area, both because of the important truths that were taught from the pulpit, as well as through the process of discipleship.
Santosh Johnny and Steven Abraham, apart from teaching Biblical truths about work, have modelled for me a hard work ethic – relying on God for solutions at work and expecting God’s favour at work. Besides, they were always interested in my work life, reaffirming the truth that God is interested in the work that I do. And there are numerous occasions when God has provided a solution for a work-related problem through my discipler.
Coming to the Biblical truths, work was instituted by God (Gen 2:15). Secondly, the Bible clearly teaches that God himself works and He is keen to do good work. God evaluated his work after each stage of creation and assessed whether it was good work. Additionally, after a six-day work schedule, God rested.
The discipleship process helped me understand that God expects us to approach our work lives in similar fashion. The key Scripture reference here is Col 2:22-24, which teaches us in no uncertain terms that whatever work we do, and whatever we put our hands to, we are doing for the Lord.
Keeping God at the centre of our work will undoubtedly lead to excellence in the work that we do. Not only will we benefit from the valuable godly principles on work, but keeping God at the centre also means that we tap into God’s vast immeasurable resources. The Bible is full of examples of people such as Isaac, Daniel and Nehemiah who did extremely well with respect to work, because “God’s favour was upon them.”
While Col 3:22-24 exhorts us to work with all our heart, it also teaches us that we work for God. It’s important to remember this truth, because excellence in the work place can potentially take us away from God. Excellence in the work place can give us a sense of significance and worth and so drive us to try to achieve more at work — a journey down that road will result in little or no time for God, family and other important plans God has for our lives. Santosh’s suggestion on starting work early and finishing within the prescribed time has helped me immensely over the years.
In closing, I have found the examples of Daniel, who prayed three times every day, and Nehemiah, who prayed quick prayers in the middle of his work, as good models to keep the focus on God. Praying in the middle of a work day will remind us that we work for Him, for the glory of His name. As the Psalmist aptly puts it, “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to Your name be the glory.”
1 Gen 3:17-19 read in isolation can reinforce this view.
2 1 Cor 13:11
3 Gen 2:2, “… God finished the work…; so … he rested from
all his work.”
4 Gen 1:4;10;12;18;21;25;31
5 Phil 4:19
6 Gen 26:12-13; Dan 1:9; Neh 2:8b
7 Dan 6:10
8 Neh 2:4b
9 Ps 115:1