Puritans, Work, and the Cause of Christ

by | Aug 6, 2020 | Devotional | 1 comment

I struggle sometimes to get a lot from the Puritans. They wrote centuries ago when the English language was very different than from how we speak and write today. But that doesn’t I mean I don’t enjoy a good Puritan quote! And the Puritans had a lot to say about work. The Puritans had a biblical view of work. They said stuff like: “Whatsoever our callings be, we serve the Lord Jesus Christ in them” (27). And they talked about how Christians can serve God “in any kind of calling, though it be but to sweep the house or keep sheep” (25). To that, I say, “Amen.”

One Puritan said, “A Christian should be able to give a good account, not only what is his occupation, but also what he is in his occupation. It is not enough that a Christian have an occupation; but he must mind his occupation as it becomes a Christan” (26). And, one more for you: “…Let every Christian walk with God when he works at his calling, act in his occupation with an eye to God, act as under the eye of God” (27). Inspiring, edifying stuff.

This is encouraging because it doesn’t matter if you’re a pastor, a plumber, or a pastry chef—the Christian’s work has value. Every job is a consequential job because it’s an opportunity to give God glory. It’s a place to obey God and show His love to others. All of life is God’s. And, with the workplace, comes an opportunity to give God glory, obey Him, and show love to others by sharing the gospel. 

What are you doing to evangelize the world through the opportunities God has given you at whatever calling He has placed you in? Depending on your job, having the opportunity to share Christ with others might arise more for some than others. But as I think back on the different jobs I’ve had: paper route, odd jobs at a funeral home, clothing retail, three different car dealerships, property preservation, grocery store, soldier, arborist, and pastor…thinking through some of these jobs, at times I had opportunities to share Christ or encourage another believer. But, overall, I know I could have done more for my Savior. The same might be true for you. 

Being a good, hard-working employee is essential. It’s biblical. Being a morally upright employee is essential. It’s biblical. But being an evangelistic employee, and an employee that builds up other believers—that’s essential. That’s biblical too.

There’s this heavenly scene described in Revelation where a group of beasts and elders fall before the Lamb of God in worship and sing. And in their song, they make mention of the Lord Jesus “hast redeemed us to God by the blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev. 5:9). Every kindred. Every tongue. Every people. Every nation. The Lord is clearly in the saving business. And He wants to use us in our place of business—in the workplace. 

So be encouraged and thankful for your work as an opportunity to glorify God, to obey, and show forth His love just in being a good worker. But also be challenged to glorify God, obey Him, and show forth His love by being a faithful witness. And that’s all the more reason to be encouraged and thankful. The Lord has entrusted us with a mission to preach the gospel. 

Recommended Reading

Images from The Orbis Pictus of John Amos Comenius.

Brent Niedergall

Pastor, Grammarian, Runner

Brent Niedergall, MDiv, is Chief Editor at Positive Action for Christ in Whitakers, North Carolina. He’s gone to war in Afghanistan, felled towering trees, and parsed Greek verbs.

1 Comment

  1. mary beth shipley

    Very truthful and encouraging essay to start the week! Thank you! (Colossians 3:23) All glory to God!

Brent Niedergall