A favorite saying for many is, "If anything is worth doing, it's worth doing right." Growing up, I heard my dad quote this so much, it seemed to me it had coined it. The nature of the proverb is such it can be labeled a truism.
Of course, some things just aren't worth doing. It may not have anything to do with whether money is involved or not! If it's dishonest or underhanded, it isn't worth doing. If we're taking undue advantage of others, we're doing something unworthy of a child of God. Greed and pride can turn a good act into something less than attractive.
The apostle Paul said, "Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Colossians 3:17).
Now, wouldn't this be a productive basis on which to live? This admonition, and others like it, give to work what one writer called "a sense of dignity ... regardless of how unimportant that work may seem to be."
To be blunt, one reason people fail to do their best is because they are just lazy. This is a fault that afflicts a lot of us occasionally — but with some, it is chronic. For those who want to learn, history's wisest man had several proverbs to instruct us. Give some thought to these — just a few of many — from the Good News Translation:
Proverbs 6:6 — "Lazy people should learn a lesson from the way ants live."
Proverbs 10:16 — "Never get a lazy person to do something for you; he will be as irritating as vinegar on your teeth or smoke in your eyes."
Proverbs 13:4 — "No matter how much a lazy person may want something, he will never get it. A hard worker will get everything he wants."
Proverbs 18:9 — "A lazy person is as bad as someone who is destructive."
Proverbs 19:15 — "Go ahead and be lazy; sleep on, but you will go hungry."
Someone is sure to contend that these contain too many generalizations to be helpful. But while the Bible is full of specific admonitions about many subjects, it also teaches profitably by stating general truths. Others will point out lazy people sometimes do get what they want. True, but not in the normal, day to day — which is where we live, isn't it?
During the early years of Christianity, many of Jesus' followers were slaves. Some of these were set free, especially as the principles of Christ's teachings were learned and accepted. Meanwhile, those who remained in slavery were instructed by apostles and other teachers to work as if they were working for Jesus (note Ephesians 6:5). Surely, if those Christians were to think that highly of their labor, those who are the servants of Christ today ought to do our best in what we do, for the glory of God and the good of others.