Date: July 31, 2016
The Point: Work isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary.
- Get Into the Study
- Study the Bible
- Additional Questions
- Member Extra
- Tips for Leading Bible Study Groups
Get Into the Study
Use the following information to introduce Question #1.
Begin by sharing this news item:
Each year U.S. News & World Report publishes a list of the “100 Best Jobs.” They define “best jobs” this way – “Good jobs are those that pay well, challenge us, are a good match for our talents and skills, aren’t too stressful, offer room to advance and provide a satisfying work-life balance.” Based on these criteria, the top 5 jobs in 2016 are:
(3) Computer Systems Analyst
(4) Nurse Anesthetist
(5) Physician Assistant
Say: You may or may not consider your job to be a “best job,” but all our work is important. Today we’ll explore what the Bible has to say about how we do our work.
Then read Question #1 (“What do you wish people knew about your work?” or “What’s the toughest work you’ve ever done?”)(PSG, p. 106) and invite volunteers to respond to the question.
Information for this post was gleaned from here:
— Donna McKinney wrote this Leader Extra. Donna is retired from a career with the federal government of the United States. She is a veteran Bible study group leader living in North Carolina.
Study the Bible
Share the following information with your group to spark a discussion about how we approach our work.
Each generation develops its own approach to work and subsequent work ethic. A recent study by Gallup highlights a few distinguishing observations and statistics regarding millennials and their work. One of the most common themes in this study of millenials was that of being “unattached.”
- Millennials have the highest rates of unemployment and underemployment in the U.S., and only 29% of employed millennials are engaged at work.
- Millennials are generally hesitant or reluctant to embrace brands, employers, their local communities or specific institutions
- Millennials are the generation most likely to switch jobs and be on the lookout for new opportunities. 1
In the same vein, the LA Times and Business Journal each reported their observations about Boomers in the workplace. Consider these quotes:
- “And last, but not least, Boomers are team players and loyal, but don’t adapt so well.”2
- Boomers ranked the lowest when it comes to being adaptable (10%) and collaborative3
To summarize, this data collectively suggests Boomers struggle to change with the changing times in their workplaces.
In light of this information, answer the following questions:
- For millennials, how would the inclination to be “unattached” at work affect one’s performance? Could this outlook ever encourage laziness in an employee? How?
- Are there any biblical examples of times when God asked someone to complete a task they were not attached to or fond of? What was the outcome?
- What dangers exist in withholding commitment to/engagement with a job you don’t particularly love, for you personally and your Christian witness?
- For Boomers, how could resistance to change impact productivity?
- In contrast, how could an eagerness to embrace change transform one’s approach to and productivity at work?
- How could receiving and adapting to even very difficult change bring God glory in your workplace?
— Emily Jennings wrote this Leader Extra. Emily is wife to Brian and Mommy to her three sweet boys. She loves serving at FBC, Woodstock, Georgia, where her husband is Middle School Pastor. Find her on Twitter: @emilyejennings.
(The sources consulted listed both the strengths and weaknesses of these two groups in the workplace. For the sake of the study and discussion, the weaknesses will be primarily highlighted in this exercise.)
- What are some extreme views about work in our culture today?
- If grades were given for hard work, what would you get? Why?
- What has laziness cost you in the past?
- What consequences have you experienced for laziness in some area of your life?
- How is our initiative/work ethic in the workplace and in our church a witness to others?
- Do you work harder for yourself, for others, or for a community?
- What lasting life lessons have you learned from working?
- What can you learn from the hardest-working person you know?
- What motivates you to be a hard worker?
- Of the three principles you can learn from ants, which means the most to you and why?
- How does laziness drain an individual? Drain a family?
- How does poverty come “like a bandit” or “like a robber”?
- What small decisions can lead one toward being a slacker?
- How can you balance hard work with occasional enjoyment?
- In what ways does hard work reflect the character of God?
- What are some practical ways you can cultivate good work ethic?
- In what areas of your life are you pulled away from hard work and toward ease?
- In what ways is laziness a spiritual problem?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional: