By Sam Webb
The legal profession may not be the best classroom for lessons in biblical manhood, at least in the mind of the American public. According to a December 2012 Gallup poll, only 19% of the American public believe lawyers are highly ethical, while 38% believe lawyers are very unethical. At least, Congress and car salesmen kept us from the cellar!
Last month, I was at a local Peruvian chicken restaurant with my pastor. He was counseling me on my job situation – a constant since moving to the area two years ago. You see, I graduated law school in 2010 during the worst legal job market in recent memory. After practicing law for a year in Texas, I moved to Washington, D.C. to pursue a political career and landed at a corporate tax advisory firm.
While Pastor Mike and I ate chicken that day, discussing our church – Grace Baptist Church of Arlington – and my seminary studies, I confessed my desire to return to Texas. “Washington hasn’t turned out like I wanted,” I said. “Sure, I am gainfully employed, using my training and abilities to serve clients and the church, but I am not a tax lawyer, right?” Pastor Mike kindly responded, “Maybe you’re just being faithful.”
Faithfulness is not the first virtue we think about when considering biblical manhood in the workplace. We may think of diligence and hard work, honesty and integrity. But do we think of faithfulness to God in loyalty to an employer? In humility and gratitude of accepting “underemployment?” In perseverance in the face of workplace challenges?
FAITHFULNESS IN RESPONSE TO GOD
Biblical manhood requires the Christian man to be faithful in the workplace in response to God’s character and His mighty deeds (Psalm 150:2). As Christians, our entire lives are to be lived in obedience to the Sovereign of the universe, to the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer of our lives. Christian men are to be Christian men everywhere: in the home, in the church, and in the workplace. Certainly, the key mark of the Christian, particularly a Christian man, is faithfulness. Here are three ways to exercise faithfulness in the workplace.
FAITHFULNESS TO GOD THE CREATOR
First, we must respond with faithfulness to God the Creator. In the beginning, God created man in His image, distinct, and for His glory. As image bearers, we faithfully exercise creativity, dominion, and productivity in the workplace. God’s creative power is evident in creation itself, and He has made us to image that creativity, to approach our work with enthusiasm and imagination (Rom. 1:20).
God created man to “have dominion over…all the earth (Gen. 1:26).” Biblical manhood is faithfully exercising this delegated authority in our workplace. Specifically, we exercise dominion by carrying out our work orderly, with great skill and effectiveness. God created the world divinely reasonable, orderly, and very good (John 1). We should faithfully seek to do the same in the workplace.
Faithfulness to God the Creator not only requires creativity and dominion, but also productivity. Inherent in the command to take dominion is the call of God to be productive: to “be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:28).” The supervisor or employee who exercises dominion without an aim to productivity is unfaithful in both areas. Biblical manhood is taking dominion over our work with an aim to quality and quantity. Our God is prolific in his creation, and we should faithfully image his prolific nature by being productive in the workplace.
FAITHFULNESS TO GOD THE SUSTAINER
Second, we must respond with faithfulness to God the Sustainer. As God is the creator of everyone and everything, so God “perpetually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and all events.” In response to God’s providence, we faithfully exercise our gifts and abilities in the workplace, while trusting the Lord in the circumstances of our employment.
God providentially gifts each man with skills and abilities. Noah could build boats. David was a shepherd. Peter was a fisherman. Jesus was a carpenter. You may be a wordsmith, math wizard, or combination of both. We should soberly consider how God wired us and the talents he has given us. God has gifted you with specific skills. Find them and employ them to the glory of God!
God also providentially guides us into circumstances so that we can exercise our gifts. Christian men, remember that God has so ordered our lives that where we find ourselves today is where God intends for us to work today. Admittedly, I am given to escapism, but biblical manhood is trusting God’s good providence in our lives. How much gratitude should we have to God for his provision and kindness, even in the most menial of work tasks? Your work may feel like hell, but it’s not. Praise God.
FAITHFULNESS TO GOD THE REDEEMER
Third, we must respond in faithfulness to God the Redeemer. If God were not a redeemer, our work would be condemned to futility. In fact, the drudgery of our work is a direct result of our fallen condition. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loves us, sent forth his Son to become a curse for us, to raise him from the dead and redeem us from the curse. God performed a work we could never perform by justly condemning sin in the flesh of Jesus Christ and justifying those who trust Jesus Christ as their redeemer. The only way we can be biblical men in the workplace is because of the work of the God-Man, Christ Jesus.
We are now to do our work, by God’s grace, as unto the Lord, bearing the fruit of the Spirit for the glory of God. Our work will continue to be hard in this life, but as Dr. Russell Moore has said of God’s people, our work now is an internship for the eschaton.
I need to be faithful to God in my workplace, and so do you. Let biblical manhood in the workplace say, like Joab, “Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him (2 Sam. 10:12).”
Sam Webb is an attorney and consultant at a corporate tax advisory firm in the Washington, D.C, metro area. He is a deacon and lay preacher at Grace Baptist Church of Arlington, while pursuing a Master of Arts at Southern Seminary. He is married to Lindsey, and is the father of Emma. You can follow him on Twitter @samwebb1876.
 The angst and anxiety of the current job market is understandable, but perhaps a lack of faithfulness is why more than one-third of American millenials are living at home – the majority of which are males – and the millenial unemployment rate is 16.2%. The workplace may not have the jobs we feel entitled to, but certainly biblical manhood requires us to be faithful to work where work is found.
 SBTS Abstract of Principles, Article IV
 Russell Moore, ‘Kingdom: Heaven after Earth, on Earth or Something Else?’ in Don’t Call it a Comeback (ed. Kevin DeYoung, Crossway, 2011) 125.