Sunday, September 29

When the Work Ethic Doesn't Work


As a conservative, Christian, and individualist I was raised to believe that EFFORT = RESULTS. This equation is the foundation of the American psyche, free enterprise system, individualism, and Protestant work ethic. But what happens when, despite your greatest efforts, you don't get results? Feelings of disappointment, worry, confusion, anger, fear, shame, sadness, bitterness, and exhaustion can overwhelm us. Long ago I learned not to blame God, so then where do we look? Do we blame others? Do we blame ourselves for not working hard enough? Do we chalk it up to an unfortunate accident? Do we consider it a direct message from God? Some of the greatest sufferings are gifts from God.The surest thing, is to turn to Scripture for the answer.

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope and a future.

1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to the ways of this world, but me transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 

Romans 8:24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?


  1. Cameron,
    I've often thought of this. My father was a blue collar worker who worked very hard, but his tremendous expenditure of effort didn't translate into any great success. I think in addition to working hard, we have to work smart. Seeking God every day and asking for wisdom (smart plus God) will lead us in areas and to do things we'd never think of ourselves, with our limited wisdom. Thanks for sparking the discussion.

  2. Thanks Cameron for such a good post today!!

  3. Have you been looking over my shoulder??? LOL... I am SO here. Just saying to my hubby today that it is hard working SO hard all the time and falling further and further behind. Thank you for the encouragement.

  4. The interesting thing about how our work ethic clashes with Christianity is on God's insistence that we depend upon Him and that in our weakness is our strength. There is great comfort in that. Who was the person who first coined that horrible, and wrongly attributed to Scripture, phrase, "God helps those who help themselves?"


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