Christian Work Ethic: God's Cure for the Entitlement Mentality
Updated: Jan 5, 2020
America is undergoing a tectonic shift in attitudes toward work. When European immigrants first came to the shores of North America seeking religious freedom, their view of work was Biblical. They saw work as a gift from God that allowed them to provide for their families and improve the quality of their lives. Consequently, they viewed work as a good thing that should be done well and in ways that honor God. In other words, they were steeped in the Christian work ethic.
Because Americans exemplified the Christian work ethic, our country eventually became the most productive and prosperous nation on earth. Average Americans came to enjoy more material wealth than the people of any other country. That’s the good news. The bad news is that over time Americans began to take for granted what previous generations had worked long and hard to attain. They began to believe they were entitled to a certain level of material comfort whether they earned it or not.
Fast forward to the present. A rapidly growing cultural phenomenon in America is an attitude toward work and life known as the entitlement mentality. The entitlement mentality is the polar opposite of the Christian work ethic. People with an entitlement mentality view work not as a gift from God to be appreciated and done well but as drudgery, a necessary evil to be avoided when possible. People with an entitlement mentality expect to enjoy the material comforts of working hard, smart, and long without having to do these things. They believe they are entitled to all the trappings of success without having to earn them.
The entitlement mentality manifests itself in a variety of ways in contemporary American society. Perhaps the worst manifestation of the entitlement mentality can be seen in the attitudes of people of prime working age who want a job but don’t want to work; people who expect to begin their careers at the top of the ladder without having to do the hard work of climbing it. This kind of individual has become the bane of employers all across the country. Those of us who study this subject view the entitlement mentality as a greater threat to American competitiveness and, in turn, American jobs than the cheap labor of third-world countries that entices employers to move their businesses off-shore. Fortunately, God has a cure for the entitlement mentality. It’s the Christian work ethic and you.
You and other Christians can be indispensable assets to your employers by adopting, internalizing, personifying, and role-modeling the Christian work ethic. In today’s age of entitlement, employers cry out for people who will work hard and work smart. They need people who are honest, responsible, dependable, diligent, and industrious team players who solve problems instead of causing them, prevent conflict instead of instigating it, and find ways to get the job done right, on time, and within budget.
This is good advice for all Christians in the work place. Applying the Christian work ethic faithfully and consistently will help you excel at work, and that’s a good thing. But going one step further and role modeling your work ethic for entitled coworkers might do even more for your career. It will help you gain the influence necessary to assist less motivated coworkers in becoming high-performing employees who make your organization more competitive. People who can improve the performance of their coworkers are valuable assets to employers. Being this kind of asset will go a long way toward enhancing your career. Be part of God’s cure for the entitlement mentality.
Dr. Goetsch is the author of Christian Women on the Job: Excelling at Work without Compromising Your Faith, Fidelis Books, an imprint of Post Hill Press and Christians on the Job: Winning at Work Without Compromising Your Faith, Salem Books, an imprint of Regnery Publishing, 2019: www.david-goetsch.com