by Henry M. Morris, Ph.D.Â
â€œSix days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work.â€ (Deuteronomy 5:13)
The term â€œlaborâ€ to many seems to connote drudgery or routine, repetitive, demeaning toil. As used here in the fourth of Godâ€™s Ten Commandments, however, the Hebrew wordÂ abadÂ means rather to â€œserveâ€ and is so translated 214 times in the King James. Only one other time is it translated â€œlabor,â€ and that is in the first rendering of the commandments (Exodus 20:9). Thus, the command could well be read: â€œSix days shalt thouÂ serve. . . .â€
Furthermore, the word for â€œworkâ€ (HebrewÂ melakah) does not denote servile labor but â€œdeputyshipâ€ or â€œstewardship.â€ The one whom we are to serve or act as deputy for, of course, is God Himself when we do our work. In the ultimate and very real sense, the Lord is our employer, and we serve Him, not man.
Therefore, â€œwhatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto menâ€ (Colossians 3:23). Every honest occupation, if carried out for the Lordâ€™s sake and to His glory, is â€œdivine service,â€ and every Christian who holds this perspective on his or her work (be it preaching, or bookkeeping, or homemaking, or whatever) is in the Christian ministryâ€”for â€œministryâ€ simply means â€œservice.â€
Note also that God has ordained not a four-day or five-day workweek: â€œSix days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work,â€ He says, thus commemorating the six days in which He worked in the beginning, â€œfor in six days the LORD made heaven and earthâ€ (Exodus 31:17).
One day, Lord willing, we shall hear Him say, â€œWell done, thou good and faithful servant: . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lordâ€ (Matthew 25:21). Then, throughout the ages to come, â€œhis servants shall serve himâ€ (Revelation 22:3) with everlasting joy. HMM