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Bible Study: What is Christian work?

NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.

Bible Passages: 2 Corinthians 10:13-14; 1 Peter 1:13-15

Discussion Questions:

  • What makes one’s work “Christian”?
  • Would thinking of your work as an offering to God affect the way you do that work? Explain.
  • What would it mean to discipline our feelings?

Food for thought:

When you think of “Christian” work, what comes to mind? A pastor or other professional church leader perhaps? Maybe a missionary to an exotic locale or remote people? What about a professor or administrator in a school determined to educate from a Christian perspective?

Would it surprise you to know that late missionary and author Elisabeth Elliot said, “There is no such thing as Christian work”? In her work Joyful Surrender: Seven Disciplines for the Believer’s Life, Elliot explained, “Christian work is any kind of work … done by a Christian and offered to God. … Work done for Christ all the time must be ‘full-time Christian work.’”

Have you ever considered what you do to be Christian work? It is if you offer it to God. And therein lays the need for discipline. Let us train and discipline ourselves to recognize what we do, even if it is non-religious, as an offering to God. And as an offering, let us discipline ourselves to do what we do to the utmost of our ability. Whether you do Christian work is not determined by what you do, but by how and why you do it.

Just as we need to discipline our work lives, so our feelings need to be brought under disciplined control. We might not be able to prevent ourselves from experiencing certain feelings at times. Nor, for that matter, might we be able to generate certain feelings. But we can discipline ourselves to control our feelings rather than being controlled by them.

Elliot stressed, “No one whose first concern is feeling good can be a disciple. We are called to carry a cross and glorify God.” Carrying a cross doesn’t feel good and our tendency is to shy away from that. Glorifying God might feel good amid a wonderful worship experience, but not necessarily when we pick up a towel and water basin to wash another’s feet as an act of humble service.

Only as God builds discipline in our lives will we choose glorifying obedience over our feeling’s desire for ease and comfort.


MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at Lifeway.com/masterwork.

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  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources