What is the Biblical Definition of WORK?

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Feb 24, 2022
1,346
284
83
#1
It seems like there's a big misconception around the topic of WORK, a lot of folks here follow the Pharisees by having equated work with keeping the Mosaic Law, but nothing could be further from the truth. What exactly is WORK? Let the bible interpret itself. The answer is the fourth commandment:

Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. (Ex. 20:8-11)

When it comes to this commandment, usually the focus is all on the Sabbath and any controversy thereof, while WORK is often neglected. Sabbath is the day of the Lord that ought to be kept holy, but before the sabbath, we work six days. This is a basic pattern of life that was set at the beginning for us to follow. God gave this commandment to the Israelites in the wilderness through Moses on Mount Sinai. Now notice that BEFORE the ten commandments were given, Israelites were already being trained to get accustomed with this pattern of life - by gathering manna from heaven in Exodus 16. I'm not gonna throw the entire chapter here, just a few key verses:

And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.”(Ex. 16:3-5)

In summary, "will work for food" is the name of the game. Israelites went out every day to gather this bread from heaven, and it was only sufficient for the day. Some tried to gather more and save the extra for the next day, and surprise, surprise, the extra all went spoiled overnight. (16:20) However, on the sixth day, they were ordered to gather twice as much to prepare for the Sabbath day, because there won't be any manna on Sabbath. (16:26) This time, none of it was spoiled (16:24). Some of them didn't listen, they went out on Sabbath, and they found nothing. (16:27) This had become their rhythm, and they did it for 40 long years in the wilderness. In the Lord's prayer, "daily bread" is a subtle reference of this, and everybody in the audience understood it.

So, here are a few bullet points:

- "Work" is what we do to make a living, to put food on the table, roof over the head and clothes on the back. It is NOT associated with salvation, for Jesus is the true bread of life, there's nothing we can do to impress God and earn salvation. The purpose of work is to sustain THIS LIFE, not the next life. "He who does not work, neither shall he eat." (2 Thess. 3:10)
- The fourth commandment sets up a weekly schedule. In order to have the Sabbath day set apart from the work days and dedicated to the Lord, all the secular work must be done in six days. If there's anything left undone, chances are, that piece of work will weigh on my mind, I'll be concerned about it, and I'll be distracted while I'm supposed to be worshipping God. Therefore there's a preparation day before Sabbath to wrap up all the work of the week. That puts more pressure on work instead of diminishing the importance of it.
- Notice that although God as the ultimate Provider fed the Israelites with manna, it did not appear in their tents on their table. This is a key principle - "Seek, and you shall find". The manna is out there, but I have to go out and gather it. The purpose was clearly stated, that it's a test of obedience.
- Although "Work" is referring to our secular work, it is NOT limited to our paid job in the office. Any productive activity is work honored by God. "Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus." (Colossians 3:17) There is no "secular-sacred" divide. God never put ministerial or religious work over other secular works. On the contrary, Pharisees and scribes were harshly criticized by Jesus for virtue signaling through their ministerial and religious work, while all the heavy burdens were put on the shoulders of other people, while they didn't lift a finger. (Matt. 23:3-5)
- Actually, by God's standard, unpaid work that I do voluntarily, either at home or in the community, at the cost of my own time and resources, seeking nothing in return, is more honorable than my regular job, for my job is just what I'm paid to do, unpaid work without anybody asking me to do is what really reflects my character. You can see this in Matt. 5:46-48 - "If you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."
 

Gideon300

Well-known member
Mar 18, 2021
3,080
1,891
113
#3
It seems like there's a big misconception around the topic of WORK, a lot of folks here follow the Pharisees by having equated work with keeping the Mosaic Law, but nothing could be further from the truth. What exactly is WORK? Let the bible interpret itself. The answer is the fourth commandment:

Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. (Ex. 20:8-11)

When it comes to this commandment, usually the focus is all on the Sabbath and any controversy thereof, while WORK is often neglected. Sabbath is the day of the Lord that ought to be kept holy, but before the sabbath, we work six days. This is a basic pattern of life that was set at the beginning for us to follow. God gave this commandment to the Israelites in the wilderness through Moses on Mount Sinai. Now notice that BEFORE the ten commandments were given, Israelites were already being trained to get accustomed with this pattern of life - by gathering manna from heaven in Exodus 16. I'm not gonna throw the entire chapter here, just a few key verses:

And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.”(Ex. 16:3-5)

In summary, "will work for food" is the name of the game. Israelites went out every day to gather this bread from heaven, and it was only sufficient for the day. Some tried to gather more and save the extra for the next day, and surprise, surprise, the extra all went spoiled overnight. (16:20) However, on the sixth day, they were ordered to gather twice as much to prepare for the Sabbath day, because there won't be any manna on Sabbath. (16:26) This time, none of it was spoiled (16:24). Some of them didn't listen, they went out on Sabbath, and they found nothing. (16:27) This had become their rhythm, and they did it for 40 long years in the wilderness. In the Lord's prayer, "daily bread" is a subtle reference of this, and everybody in the audience understood it.

So, here are a few bullet points:

- "Work" is what we do to make a living, to put food on the table, roof over the head and clothes on the back. It is NOT associated with salvation, for Jesus is the true bread of life, there's nothing we can do to impress God and earn salvation. The purpose of work is to sustain THIS LIFE, not the next life. "He who does not work, neither shall he eat." (2 Thess. 3:10)
- The fourth commandment sets up a weekly schedule. In order to have the Sabbath day set apart from the work days and dedicated to the Lord, all the secular work must be done in six days. If there's anything left undone, chances are, that piece of work will weigh on my mind, I'll be concerned about it, and I'll be distracted while I'm supposed to be worshipping God. Therefore there's a preparation day before Sabbath to wrap up all the work of the week. That puts more pressure on work instead of diminishing the importance of it.
- Notice that although God as the ultimate Provider fed the Israelites with manna, it did not appear in their tents on their table. This is a key principle - "Seek, and you shall find". The manna is out there, but I have to go out and gather it. The purpose was clearly stated, that it's a test of obedience.
- Although "Work" is referring to our secular work, it is NOT limited to our paid job in the office. Any productive activity is work honored by God. "Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus." (Colossians 3:17) There is no "secular-sacred" divide. God never put ministerial or religious work over other secular works. On the contrary, Pharisees and scribes were harshly criticized by Jesus for virtue signaling through their ministerial and religious work, while all the heavy burdens were put on the shoulders of other people, while they didn't lift a finger. (Matt. 23:3-5)
- Actually, by God's standard, unpaid work that I do voluntarily, either at home or in the community, at the cost of my own time and resources, seeking nothing in return, is more honorable than my regular job, for my job is just what I'm paid to do, unpaid work without anybody asking me to do is what really reflects my character. You can see this in Matt. 5:46-48 - "If you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."
There is only one recorded instance of someone punished for breaking the sabbath. He was collecting firewood. Not manna, not food.
 

Amanuensis

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2021
1,455
454
83
#4
The biblical definition of work would depend on the scripture where it is used.

The context. In the example you gave it was physical labor.

In another scripture like where Paul talked about the works of the Law he was talking about that religious duty, expecting to earn a right standing with God for observing the Sabbath or observing a feast in Jerusalem. This would be a work of the law. Two different contexts and two different meanings.

The concept of resting in the finished works of Christ so that you receive the right standing of Christ applied to you, (He who kept the law where you could not) is not a work it is a rest. This is why faith in Jesus is observing the true sabbath and observing a day of the week never will be.

Col 2:16 Therefore, don’t let anyone judge you in regard to food and drink or in the matter of a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day. 17These are a shadow of what was to come; the substance is Christ.
 
J

JAPOV

Guest
#5
Wasn't Jesus accused many times of disregarding the Sabbath laws against work?
 
Feb 24, 2022
1,346
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#6
Wasn't Jesus accused many times of disregarding the Sabbath laws against work?
Yes, because Sabbath is made for man, not man for Sabbath. They themselves didn't have any regard for Sabbath, in Matthew 27:62-64, after the preparation day, which was the first day of Unleavened Bread that they shouldn't do any "customary work" according to Lev. 23:7, they had a meeting and asked Pilate to guard the tomb. Obviously politics was more important on their mind than observing the Sabbath.
 

pottersclay

Senior Member
Aug 13, 2015
5,414
1,519
113
#7
Serving God vrs. serving man or ones self.

The lord rested upon from his work, we are asked to rest from ours.
Its a time of reflection, to give thanks for his provision, his grace and kindness and mercy toward us.
But... if theres a immediate need we are asked to fulfill that need.
Setting aside a day of the week with no plans or thoughts other than fellowship with the Lord and family and friends.
Putting away all those distractions that this world puts before us. We are refreshed, refocused, on our calling and purpose.
 

JohnDB

Well-known member
Jan 16, 2021
3,380
1,501
113
#8
Ox in a ditch?

And the Pharisees were desperate to make Jesus an illegitimate Schmeekah Rabbi. They were desperate to try and make him out to sinful. For several reasons....

One was that his sermon delivery was so absolutely flawless. It was simple but absolutely perfect....and extremely well nuanced. They were absolute ear worms...they stuck in your head and could be repeated easily.

Secondly Jesus appeared to be a rather uneducated fellow most days by his manner of speaking. (Easy target of low hanging fruit) Jesus didn't use fifty cent words a lot...or use complicated logic.

And when Jesus was challenged He still used simple language and principles to refute every challenge. (He was a LOT smarter than they were)
 

DavidTree

Well-known member
Aug 2, 2021
6,666
1,852
113
#9
It seems like there's a big misconception around the topic of WORK, a lot of folks here follow the Pharisees by having equated work with keeping the Mosaic Law, but nothing could be further from the truth. What exactly is WORK? Let the bible interpret itself. The answer is the fourth commandment:

Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. (Ex. 20:8-11)

When it comes to this commandment, usually the focus is all on the Sabbath and any controversy thereof, while WORK is often neglected. Sabbath is the day of the Lord that ought to be kept holy, but before the sabbath, we work six days. This is a basic pattern of life that was set at the beginning for us to follow. God gave this commandment to the Israelites in the wilderness through Moses on Mount Sinai. Now notice that BEFORE the ten commandments were given, Israelites were already being trained to get accustomed with this pattern of life - by gathering manna from heaven in Exodus 16. I'm not gonna throw the entire chapter here, just a few key verses:

And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.”(Ex. 16:3-5)

In summary, "will work for food" is the name of the game. Israelites went out every day to gather this bread from heaven, and it was only sufficient for the day. Some tried to gather more and save the extra for the next day, and surprise, surprise, the extra all went spoiled overnight. (16:20) However, on the sixth day, they were ordered to gather twice as much to prepare for the Sabbath day, because there won't be any manna on Sabbath. (16:26) This time, none of it was spoiled (16:24). Some of them didn't listen, they went out on Sabbath, and they found nothing. (16:27) This had become their rhythm, and they did it for 40 long years in the wilderness. In the Lord's prayer, "daily bread" is a subtle reference of this, and everybody in the audience understood it.

So, here are a few bullet points:

- "Work" is what we do to make a living, to put food on the table, roof over the head and clothes on the back. It is NOT associated with salvation, for Jesus is the true bread of life, there's nothing we can do to impress God and earn salvation. The purpose of work is to sustain THIS LIFE, not the next life. "He who does not work, neither shall he eat." (2 Thess. 3:10)
- The fourth commandment sets up a weekly schedule. In order to have the Sabbath day set apart from the work days and dedicated to the Lord, all the secular work must be done in six days. If there's anything left undone, chances are, that piece of work will weigh on my mind, I'll be concerned about it, and I'll be distracted while I'm supposed to be worshipping God. Therefore there's a preparation day before Sabbath to wrap up all the work of the week. That puts more pressure on work instead of diminishing the importance of it.
- Notice that although God as the ultimate Provider fed the Israelites with manna, it did not appear in their tents on their table. This is a key principle - "Seek, and you shall find". The manna is out there, but I have to go out and gather it. The purpose was clearly stated, that it's a test of obedience.
- Although "Work" is referring to our secular work, it is NOT limited to our paid job in the office. Any productive activity is work honored by God. "Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus." (Colossians 3:17) There is no "secular-sacred" divide. God never put ministerial or religious work over other secular works. On the contrary, Pharisees and scribes were harshly criticized by Jesus for virtue signaling through their ministerial and religious work, while all the heavy burdens were put on the shoulders of other people, while they didn't lift a finger. (Matt. 23:3-5)
- Actually, by God's standard, unpaid work that I do voluntarily, either at home or in the community, at the cost of my own time and resources, seeking nothing in return, is more honorable than my regular job, for my job is just what I'm paid to do, unpaid work without anybody asking me to do is what really reflects my character. You can see this in Matt. 5:46-48 - "If you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."
Are living/abiding under the Sabbath Law given by Moses?
 

DavidTree

Well-known member
Aug 2, 2021
6,666
1,852
113
#11
By God, through Moses. There's no problem of sunday service, but the 6-1 pattern is the same.
i completely understand your OP.
i just want to make sure i am not reading into it more then i should.

Question: Do you follow the literal six days a week we work and the seventh day you are not permitted to do any work as you described = for money/profit and or food/clothing/possesions?
 
Feb 24, 2022
1,346
284
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#12
i completely understand your OP.
i just want to make sure i am not reading into it more then i should.

Question: Do you follow the literal six days a week we work and the seventh day you are not permitted to do any work as you described = for money/profit and or food/clothing/possesions?
No, I'm just using the Sabbath law as an example to explain the biblical definition of work. To serve man is to serve God, whether there's any food/clothing/possesions involved or not. It's a time to recuperate and meditate on God's words.
 

DavidTree

Well-known member
Aug 2, 2021
6,666
1,852
113
#13
No, I'm just using the Sabbath law as an example to explain the biblical definition of work. To serve man is to serve God, whether there's any food/clothing/possesions involved or not.
Good, you had me concerned because there is a DEATH Penalty for anyone who works on the LORD'S Sabbath REST.
 
Feb 24, 2022
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#14
Good, you had me concerned because there is a DEATH Penalty for anyone who works on the LORD'S Sabbath REST.
Look, this is more about the right state of mind, to get redpilled even just for one day and review everything from a spiritual perspective. Also, I believe there’s a lot of chores to do. In John 12:1-11, Jesus and his disciples lodged at Lazarus’s house with Mary and Martha, they prepared dinner, Martha served the table and Mary anointed Jesus’s feet. That was on Sabbath, right before Palm Sunday. Judas protested at what he considered wasteful use of the fragrance, but nobody had any problem with any work for the dinner. On the contrary, that was what they were expected to do on Sabbath.
 
Mar 1, 2021
77
70
18
#15
Look, this is more about the right state of mind, to get redpilled even just for one day and review everything from a spiritual perspective. Also, I believe there’s a lot of chores to do. In John 12:1-11, Jesus and his disciples lodged at Lazarus’s house with Mary and Martha, they prepared dinner, Martha served the table and Mary anointed Jesus’s feet. That was on Sabbath, right before Palm Sunday. Judas protested at what he considered wasteful use of the fragrance, but nobody had any problem with any work for the dinner. On the contrary, that was what they were expected to do on Sabbath.
As a mom and homemaker, I can fully relate to Martha and Mary! My "job" isn't paid but it looks the same basically 7 days a week, and it is hard to not do some chores on Sunday. Putting dinner on the table takes just as much work Sunday as every other day of the week.
 

DavidTree

Well-known member
Aug 2, 2021
6,666
1,852
113
#16
Look, this is more about the right state of mind, to get redpilled even just for one day and review everything from a spiritual perspective. Also, I believe there’s a lot of chores to do. In John 12:1-11, Jesus and his disciples lodged at Lazarus’s house with Mary and Martha, they prepared dinner, Martha served the table and Mary anointed Jesus’s feet. That was on Sabbath, right before Palm Sunday. Judas protested at what he considered wasteful use of the fragrance, but nobody had any problem with any work for the dinner. On the contrary, that was what they were expected to do on Sabbath.
Something changed when the LORD showed up - or did it?

Red Pill takes you somewhere, Blue Pill keeps you under status quo(religion).
 
Feb 24, 2022
1,346
284
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#17
As a mom and homemaker, I can fully relate to Martha and Mary! My "job" isn't paid but it looks the same basically 7 days a week, and it is hard to not do some chores on Sunday. Putting dinner on the table takes just as much work Sunday as every other day of the week.
Nonetheless it’s still a precious time to rest, at least mentally, with a peaceful Mary heart in a busy Martha world.
 

Melach

Well-known member
Mar 28, 2019
1,948
1,456
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#19
in the new covenant we dont need to keep the sabbath religiously.

colossians 2:16-17
Therefore, don’t let anyone judge you in regard to food and drink or in the matter of a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of what was to come; the substance is the Messiah.