5 Signs You Are Placing Your Work Above God

Updated Apr 26, 2024
5 Signs You Are Placing Your Work Above God

The Bible has much to say about work. Scripture says, no matter what we do, do it all for the glory of God: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters." (Colossians 3:23) Additionally, Scripture also says we are to make work a spiritual act of worship: "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)." However, when we prioritize work because it makes us a dollar rather than helps us fulfill an overall purpose, we have given work the wrong priority in our lives. This will place a strain on our overall spiritual life. All throughout the Bible, we read stories of people who made false idols to worship instead of worshiping God. One of those idols is money.

For example, Ananias and Sapphira held back a portion of their income instead of giving it to benefit the local church. They wanted people to believe they were giving sacrificially, but they kept money back for themselves.

This led to dire consequences for themselves and the people whose example they were setting: "Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife's full knowledge, he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet. Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God" (Acts 5:1-4.)

One of the modern-day idols we worship today is work. With society still observing the American Dream, work is not only accepted but applauded. People who don't work hard enough are considered lazy or uncaring about their job. Yet, those who work long hours and put work above family and God are celebrated.

God sees this as an idol. It is difficult to see whether we are worshipping work or worshiping God. Here are some ways to tell if you are placing your work above God:

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Nurse medical doctor getting ready for work drinking coffee job

1. Sunday Becomes a Workday

Although Sunday is the most recognized day for Sabbath, people can make any day a Sabbath. A Sabbath is not merely lying on the couch like a "couch potato" but allowing every aspect of the body to get an adequate break from stimuli that cause it to function all the time. The Old Testament Law given to Moses in Exodus 20 outlines the Ten Commandments God commanded of his people. One of those highlighted is to observe a Sabbath. Yet, when we observe twenty-four hours of rest during the week, we observe a Sabbath. This is an Old Testament law that is carried through the New Testament. God wants us to observe rest so we can have our minds, bodies, and hearts working optimally for the work week. However, with technology and other devices that allow us to work from home, it is easy to turn Sunday into a workday. Observing emotional, mental, physical, creative, and technological rest is more difficult than ever. If you find you're skipping church or other worship services because you're too busy working or not observing the Sabbath, you may be placing work above God.

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2. Work Starts the Day Rather than Prayer

Although Christians can read the Bible at any time day that works best for them, Christians like to start their day off with prayer and reading the Bible. This is a great way to start the day as it keeps your focus on God and enhances your ability to react to any situation that you will encounter. However, even with the best intentions, we can start our workday without giving proper respect to God. We can forget to pray and forget to read our Bible. It is important not to just read the Bible to check it off our to-do lists but to study it and apply it to our daily lives. When we do this too often, it's easy to make work the first thing we start the day.

God wants us to give over our time, and he will, in turn, bless our efforts. When we tithe our time as we do our finances, God gives us time when we need it the most.

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Dad working remotely at home on laptop ignoring kids

3. You Miss Family Events

It's easy for people to mistake working hard and buying possessions as providing for a family. While this is true, embracing the moments together as a family is essential. Work has its place to help us serve our ultimate purpose and also to provide a paycheck. However, some people place work before family events. This is putting work before God because God created that family. He placed you in a position to be a parent or spouse for that season and time. When we choose work over our family events, it causes resentment and bitterness for family members when they see their spouse or parent working rather than being present in the moment for the moments that matter.

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Woman working late in office at job at night drinking coffee

4. You Miss Being a Godly Example to Others

One of the ways we exemplify Christ-like behavior to the world is to serve our local church as well as our community. However, when people work too many hours, they are simply too tired to volunteer additional time for activities. This may seem easy to ignore since not everyone volunteers, but part of our command as Christians is to go out into the world, make disciples, and baptize others. Being a Godly example shows the world who Jesus is. At the end of our lives, it won't be work that people will remember. They will remember the time we spent with them and how they made us feel. If we are absent because we are working too much, there will be little for us to remember. We must keep work in its place, set up clear boundaries, and work appropriate hours.

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5. You Haven't Used Your Spiritual Gifts

Not only are we uniquely talented with natural gifts, but when we accept Jesus, God wired us with unique gifts to encourage and help our brothers and sisters in Christ. These gifts can be used within the local church body but also in our community. We may be working too much when we can't remember the last time we used our spiritual gifts or even remember what they are. When we bow to the almighty dollar rather than to almighty God, we have a problem. Discover your spiritual gifts, re-ignite that passion, and serve your local community. It may seem feudal and feel as if it's better to work to make money, but in the end, you're reaping a benefit far better than any paycheck.

Work is important in our lives. But when it takes the place of special events, proper rest, or missed priorities, it can become an idol. By observing the suggestions above, you can be assured you have work as its proper priority.

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Writer Michelle LazurekMichelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.com.

Originally published Wednesday, 24 April 2024.