Work ethic is the principle that hard work is intrinsically virtuous. Protestant work ethic was brought to New England during the 17th and 18th when Puritans arrived from Great Britain. The Puritan’s believed that it was necessary to be in a covenant relationship with God in order to be redeemed from one’s sinful condition. These fervent followers taught that God had chosen to reveal salvation through preaching, and that the Holy Spirit was the energizing instrument of salvation. Unfortunately, some took this to the extreme, claiming that working hard at one’s call was a sign that you would be saved.
Servants (slaves), be obedient to those who are your physical masters, having respect for them and eager concern to please them, in singleness of motive and with all your heart, as [service] to Christ [Himself]—6 Not in the way of eye-service [as if they were watching you] and only to please men, but as servants (slaves) of Christ, doing the will of God heartily and with your whole soul; Ephesians 6:5-6.
In the passage above and below, the apostle Paul addresses work ethic by targeting a broad audience. After speaking to fathers about the urge to exasperate their children, Paul moves on to displaying proper conduct. This scope isn’t limited to the poor, but includes administrators, business owners, and those in places of authority and power. Using the Golden Rule as a point of reference, Paul urges individuals to do unto others as you want others to do unto you, Matthew 7:12. This is the root of work ethic, striving to love others as God loves us, Matthew 22:36-40.
Rendering service readily with goodwill, as to the Lord and not to men, 8 Knowing that for whatever good anyone does, he will receive his reward from the Lord, whether he is slave or free. 9 You masters, act on the same [principle] toward them and give up threatening and using violent and abusive words, knowing that He Who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no respect of persons (no partiality) with Him, Ephesians 6:7-9.
When I first started working as a teenager, I was taught the harder you worked, the more money you would make. This wasn’t always true, but if you developed a reputation for being a hard worker, this led to bigger and better opportunities to advance. As someone who has always wrestled with being a workaholic, pacing myself has been a daily battle throughout my life. Subsequently, I tend to burn myself out, addicted to what I am doing until desire and passion fades away. While adopting a good work ethic is important, you don’t want to end up like Martha who lost her childhood faith, Luke 10:38-42. Instead, seek to be more like Mary to entertain Jesus.
by Jay Mankus