What is God's idea concerning work?

Question
What is God's idea concerning work? While I feel sure God would have some good suggestions, if we have other means, like inherited wealth, we don't have to work, correct?
Answer
Although God owns everything (Psa. 24:1) and his work is rather different than ours, even he worked (Gen. 2:3; Psa. 19:1; Mark 6:3; 10:45) and continues to work (Psa. 55:22; 127:1; Isa. 64:4; John 5:19; Acts 17:25; 1 Cor. 3:6-7; 15:10; Phil. 2:12-13, etc.). This is addressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith (Ch. 5.1):
God the great Creator of all things does uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.

But I would say that God's view about work is more than a mere idea. In fact, he's laid down very specific rules concerning it. Indeed, God ordained humanity to work. That Adam was instructed to tend the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:15) tells us that work wasn't because of the Fall (Gen. 3:1-6). The Fall just made work more difficult (Gen. 3:16-19).

There are all kinds of work, workers, job titles, positions mentioned, or at least alluded to, in Scripture. Among them are administrators (Isa. 32:1; Jer. 3:15; 23:4; Ezek. 44:24); builders (Isa. 61:4; Jer. 30:18; Ezek. 36:10, 33; Amos 9:14); farmers (Isa. 30:23-24; 32:20; 61:5; Jer. 31:5; Ezek. 36:34; 47:12; 48:19; Amos 9:13); fishermen (Ezek. 47:10; Matt. 4:18); gravediggers (Ezek. 39:14-15); herdsmen (Isa. 30:23-24; 60:6-7; 61:5; Jer. 31:12); janitors/gatekeepers (1 Chron. 26:1, 12); landscapers (Gen. 2:15); metalworkers (Isa. 2:4; 60:17; Micah 4:3); servants (Isa. 14:2); temple duties (Ezek. 44:10-16); (12) vinedressers (Isa. 25:6; 62:9; Jer. 31:12; Amos 9:13); and workers (Ezek. 48:19). There are also cooks, butchers, bakers, musicians, tent makers, weavers, tailors, seamstresses, even elders and deacons. So, God designed numerous different types of work — "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might..." (Eccl. 9:10).

Even Solomon, a very wealthy man, (2 Chron. 9:13-29), worked as a king.

Laziness is a repugnant sin (Prov. 6:10-12; 12:24; 13:4; 21:25; cf. 2 Thess. 3:10; 1 Tim. 5:8). Work is one of God's means of providing our basic needs (Psa. 90:17; Eph. 4:28; 2 Tim. 2:6, etc.) and to assist others who are poor or unable to work (Deut. 15:11; Prov. 19:17; Matt. 25:35-40; Acts 20:32; Heb. 13:16; Jas. 2:14-17, etc.). Even in retirement, the Christian has more time to donate to the Lord (Psa. 37:25; 71:9; 92:12-14; Prov. 16:31; Isa. 46:4; Jer. 29:11). Work is for God's glory (1 Cor. 10:31). Our work should be life-long, productive, inspiring, and influence society and culture for its good on many fronts.

Even in the new heavens and new earth there will be work, but it will be completely isolated from the effects of the Fall (Matt. 25:23; 1 Cor. 6:2-3; Rev. 7:15; 22:3, 5). What kind of exact glorious work this will be we are not told, but we can be sure it will be enjoyable work. Also, remember we will worship in heaven (Rev. 22:3), and if one thinks true worship isn't genuine work, then may I suggest that perhaps you haven't engaged in godly worship yet? (John 4:23-24; cf. Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:37).

God created mankind to work and we are created in his image. Work should be considered a blessing.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).