15. Joyful

  1. Being a Christian in work is being joyful. Following Jesus Christ in our work means being joyful because Jesus is our source of joy.364 Jesus knew joy365 and He gives us joy.366 God is our greatest joy.367 From the Holy Spirit we receive the heart, wisdom, and strength to work joyfully.
  2. God has made us in such a way that we can enjoy; that we can enjoy the beauty that work offers and the beauty that we bring about in work.368 We may look to our work for the enjoyment that God gives us about our work.369 Our work itself does not give us satisfaction and enjoyment, but glorifying God in our work give us satisfaction and enjoyment.
  3. Working joyfully means enjoying our work. God enjoyed His creation when He had made it and saw that it was perfect.370 Therefore, we are ungrateful if we do not enjoy His creation, His world, and what He provides to our work, even if the world is imperfect after the Fall. If we do not enjoy what God gives us in our work, then that is ungratefulness toward God. And if we only begin to enjoy our work after the fact, then we have begun to enjoy it too late.
  4. Working joyfully means enjoying what God gives. We may rejoice that God puts us to work, that He needs us, that He has confidence in us.371 Therefore, we are not concerned with what pleasures in our work we miss, but we enjoy what we do have received from God.
  5. Working joyfully means glorifying God.372 God can only enjoy our work if we ourselves enjoy it; and we can only enjoy our work if we realize that God enjoys it. We glorify God by enjoying who God is and what He gives us. By enjoying God in our work, we glorify Him. By rejoicing in God during our work, we glorify Him. We are truly happy in our work when we are blessed, when we work as God intends work to be. Working with God is already a joy in itself.373 When we enjoy our work and its fruits that praise God’s glory, this is a foretaste of the new heaven and earth.
  6. Working joyfully means doing even the most joyless work with joy. Our joy is not based on circumstances, but on the presence of God in our lives. With joy we may obey laws and rules,374 work overtime, do the nastiest and most obtuse work. No matter how unproductive our work may seem, God is with us and is present in our work, and He gives us a joy that even the worst working conditions cannot completely defeat. We may also rejoice at the incomplete things in our work that God completes.
  7. Working joyfully means that suffering in our work gives us joy. When we show joy in our suffering, we show that we can and want to carry our cross and that we do not have to do i.t alone but with Christ. Enduring suffering gives us joy, pure joy even.375 Doing our work out of and for the love of God, no matter how heavy and painful this work is, gives relief and joy. The heavier and more painful our work is, the louder our joy.
  8. Working joyfully means working cheerfully.376 If cheerfulness makes life a celebration,377 then this also applies to our work. We are not joyful if we are always gloomy and grumpy when doing our work. Neither are we cheerful if our joy is not wholehearted, if it is contrived, and artificial. By being cheerful we show that we have been revived.
  9. Working joyfully means bearing fruit. The Holy Spirit fills us with joy and is our joy.378 To show joy at work is therefore a fruit of the Holy Spirit, as is enjoying the fruits of our work. If we can no longer enjoy the fruits of our work, then we are its slaves rather than its master.
  10. Working joyfully means witnessing God’s nearness.379 By doing our work with joy, we show our gratitude to God and to everyone in our work.380
  11. Working joyfully does not mean that always whistling and glowing while doing our work. When there is suffering or serious problems then seriousness is appropriate. But even then, we may find joy in the awareness that God is there and that He carries us.
  12. Working joyfully means receiving a three-fold gift from God: that we can work, that we can enjoy, and that there is in the work reason to enjoy.381 Working for God makes us happy in the sense that we get to experience God’s constant provision for our needs.
  13. Working joyfully means being thankful. Because joyful work is a three-fold gift from God, we may be grateful to God for giving it to us. Gratefulness is an abiding focus on God, searching for what He gives to us in our work. Gratitude is the fuel for our joy. Gratitude helps us to get out of our victim role and to be freed from the focus on what we lack.382
  14. Working joyfully means wanting to do good works. Our salvation creates joy that makes us eager to serve God and humanity. The more we seek our joy in God, the more strength we receive to do good, and the more joyful we become when our work bears fruit.383

  1. John 17:13
  2. Luke 10:21
  3. John 15:11
  4. Psalm 16:11, Psalm 43:4, Psalm 92:5, 1 Peter 1:8
  5. Deuteronomy 12:18
  6. Matthew 5:12, 1 Timothy 6:17
  7. Genesis 1:31, Psalm 104:31
  1. Matthew 5:13-14, Matthew 7:12, Matthew 28:19, Mark 12:31, Romans 12:16, Galatians 5:13, Philippians 2:3-4, 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, 1 Peter 3:15, 1 Peter 4:10
  2. Ecclesiastes 2:24
  3. Psalm 73:28
  4. Psalm 119:111
  5. Luke 6:22-23, James 1:2, James 1:12
  1. Romans 12:8
  2. Proverbs 15:15
  3. Acts 13:52
  4. Philippians 4:4-5
  5. Ecclesiastes 3:22, Ephesians 6:5-9, Colossians 3:23
  6. Ecclesiastes 3:12-13
  7. Philippians 4:6
  8. Nehemiah 8:11

Questions

  1. Which Bible verse about joyfulness do I find particularly appealing and provides guidance for what working joyfully means (to me)?
  2. To what extent do I agree with the above summary of what working joyfully means?
  3. Are there any missing elements in the above list of what working joyfully means? If so, which ones?
  4. How would I personally describe what working joyfully means for Christians?
  5. How would I describe concretely what working joyfully means for me?
  6. To what extent do I subscribe to the idea that joyfulness is an important characteristic/virtue for Christians in their work?
  7. To what extent do I subscribe to the idea that joyfulness is an important guideline/principle for the behavior of Christians in their work?
  8. To what extent is joyfulness an important virtue and principle for me in my work?
  9. How do I experience the importance of joyfulness in my work?
  10. Do I work to bring about joy? Do I do so wholeheartedly?
  11. To what extent can I work joyfully in my work?
  12. How often have I recently brought joy to my work?
  13. How joyfully do I do my work? How does it show?
  14. To what extent do I use joyfulness as a principle for my behavior in my work? Could I illustrate this using the decisions I have recently made in my work?
  15. When I look back at my working life, could I say that I have increasingly become more joyful in my behavior?
  16. To what extent do people I work with think I act joyfully in my work? What have they said to me about this?
  17. To what extent do I think God thinks I act joyfully in my work?
  18. How can I become and act more joyfully in my work? How would I do this concretely?
  19. Which elements of working joyfully am I going to bring more of in my next working day?
  20. What am I going to say in a prayer to God about working joyfully?
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