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workingI’ve been well acquainted with work ever since I was young. Ask any of my six brothers and sisters what my dad’s most repeated phrase was and most likely you’ll get: “I want you to learn to work, and learn to like to work.”

It hasn’t been until recently that I have really begun to realize the depth to which that has affected me. Why is work so important? Why does a good work ethic seem to be an increasingly rare trait?

When I think of the importance of work, I am reminded of a well-known parable in  Luke 19, where Jesus tells about a nobleman who gives his servants the responsibility of stewarding portions of his money until he returns from his business trip. When he returns, he calls on each of his servants to receive his return on their investments.

The passage goes like this:

Photo credit: Lawrence OP via Foter.com / CC BY

Photo credit: Lawrence OP via Foter.com / CC BY

The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’

Wealth And Riches

Now, we could talk about a myriad of applications for this story, but the most interesting thing to me is the fact that the reward for the servants that invested the money was not riches, but authority of cities. Why would the reward for stewarding money well not be money in return?

#Wealth is the byproduct of #stewardship. Click To Tweet

I believe that the nobleman understood the crucial difference between wealth and riches. He knew that wealth is the only true, transferable commodity, whereas riches are simply a natural consequence of true wealth. Wealth is the byproduct of stewardship. Stewardship produces patience, character, increased ability, wisdom, and love. This is true wealth that can only be gained by obedience to God.

Building A Work Ethic

Somewhere around the third grade, I began working for my grandfather. In high school I started helping my uncle with his fireplace business (if you happen to live in Central California check them out, they do incredible work), and then a year later moved on to working for a tactical footwear company.

If #stewardship is the focus, #riches become a natural occurrence Click To Tweet

From a financial standpoint, I didn’t really need a job, but the real wealth I was able to gain during those years has proved invaluable in the time since then. I started working with stewardship as my primary motivation and as a result I was extremely satisfied with my work.

That’s how a work ethic is formed – through a mindset of stewardship and a desire to work for wealth instead of riches. If this is the focus, riches become a natural occurrence.

The Principle Of Stewardship

Photo credit: Jonas Schleske via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: Jonas Schleske via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

In a previous article, I stated that “the primary priority for any employer must be the individual, personal development of his or her employees.” This is because the business owner’s primary responsibility is the stewardship of the people that God has entrusted him/her with.

Business leaders must learn how to best steward the gifts that individual employees possess. This must come first because at the end of the day, whether the business thrives or goes under, the true wealth that was created is what will remain and be inherited by employer and employee alike.

We can’t afford to get our economic mindset twisted. Creating wealth is hard and takes time and effort, but it’s what we were created for. It is a valuable investment.

Just imagine what the workplace would look like if both the employer and employee partnered with God to see what He was doing, invested time, money, and effort in stewarding that realm, and were driven by the work and satisfaction of stewarding something so much greater than themselves.

Places of business would become havens that ministered to individuals, and raised up leaders. They would be great commission academies that advanced the Kingdom of God simply by adopting His economic system: faithful stewardship.

My dad was right, work is meant to be enjoyed. Work is designed to manifest His presence and and produce His eternal work in our individual lives.

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