“Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys” (Proverbs 18:9).
Bad work is half-done work. Bad work is sloppy work. Bad work is not done with excellence.
God wants us to work because He is a worker (Genesis 1:1). God created us to be workers (Genesis 1:26, 28-9). We work to glorify God, serve people, meet needs, and enable us to provide for our families.
In John Piper’s book Don’t Waste Your Life, he gives prescriptions for how to glorify God in the workplace. In other words, here are some ways to guard yourself from being a destructive employee that Solomon warns about in Proverbs 18:9.
#1 – “We can make much of God during our secular job through the fellowship that we enjoy with him throughout the day in all our work” (I Corinthians 7:24; II Corinthians 6:16). What distinguishes a Christian from a non-Christian when it comes to work is this: Christians don’t “go to work”; they “go to work” with God. They don’t just “do a job”; they “do their job” with God. When we “go to work” with God, reminding ourselves He is with us, we will be compelled to be more thankful and praiseworthy of how He is accomplishing His will around us.
#2 – “We can make much of Christ in our secular work by the joyful, trusting God-exalting design of our creativity and industry” (Genesis 1:27-28). Since God created work before the Fall, work is not the curse. Piper says, “When God sends us forth to work as his image-bearers, our ditches are to be dug straight, our pipefittings are not to leak, our cabinet covers should be flush, our surgical incisions should be clean, our word processing accurate and appealing, and our meals nutritious and attractive, because God is a God of order and beauty and competence” (pgs. 140-141). Work hard for God.
#3 – “We make much of Christ in our secular work when it confirms and enhances the portrait of Christ’s glory that people hear in the spoken Gospel” (Titus 2:9-10; Philemon 16). The workplace is a mission field. We begin disciple-making – very often – in the workplace. And the way we speak and think and behave is very often a constructive or destructive testimony for the sake of the Gospel
#4 – “We make much of Christ in our secular work by earning enough money to keep us from depending on others, while focusing on the helpfulness of our work rather than financial rewards” (Genesis 3:17-19; John 6:27). We should work to sustain our own livelihood. To refuse to work at all or work as little as possible to assume others will take care of our needs is prideful laziness.