"Quiet Quitting" describes a current trend in how people see their work. For some people, quiet quitting is choosing to do the bare minimum of the job, just short of getting fired. In some instances the job has become just a paycheck and they have emotionally checked out of the workplace.
For some, a more positive expression of quiet quitting is choosing to do only what is required, without going above and beyond. It's doing a competent but limited amount of work, setting limits around the expectations of their employers. It's an acknowledgement that "Employee" is not our primary human identity. They aren't leaving a job altogether, but they choose to manage their work hours differently without being pressured to do more than is realistic.
The pandemic prompted many people to reorient their priorities and establish new parameters around the role of work in their life. How should Christians view work, and what limits should Christians be setting around employer expectations?
Our identity is found in our adoption into God’s family. We are children of God, bearing the very image of God in our person. Our identity and sense of self-worth are anchored in the God who made and redeemed us, rather than in whatever work you do or what you have accomplished. Amid a culture that is driven by productivity, God invites us to be still and present. You are more than what you accomplish in your day job, even while God has gifted us with talents and creativity. So while work doesn't define us or tell us our worth, it certainly plays an important role in our lives.
God is a creator, and made us to be creative. We all have gifts that have been given to us by God and we have a responsibility to steward them well. Even in the Garden of Eden, our first parents were called to tend creation and use their gifts to glorify God. It is natural to do work that is meaningful and makes good use of the talents that God has given to us. Our work can be a valuable avenue of serving God’s kingdom and utilizing the gifts that God has entrusted to us. There is a blessing in having meaningful work and recognizing that we are a part of building God’s kingdom here on earth.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).
In addition to the gift of work, God has given us the responsibility to care for our families. It is important to find a healthy balance where we are good stewards of our gifts and attentive caregivers to our families.
We ought to do our jobs wholeheartedly recognizing that in all things, we serve God first, and not a boss. An employer hired us to do a job, but God invites us to use our gifts and glorify him in every task placed before us. Even when the boss isn’t looking, God sees our work and our attitude toward it and nothing is hidden from view.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24).
We ultimately answer to God for the choices that we make with our time and talents. Ask yourself if God is honored by the decisions that you are making about your work, whether you lean toward too little or too much focus on work. We honor God not only in our tasks, but also in the balance of living. Caring for our families, having time to volunteer, laughing and playing in leisure time, these too are ways to glorify God and enjoy his gifts.
We all appreciate environments where we feel respected and cared for. We thrive in places where our contributions are acknowledged and where we have a sense of accomplishment about the work that we are doing. We feel good when we know that our efforts have been a blessing to someone else and we have contributed to the greater good in this world. Our hearts are warmed when we are able to make meaningful contributions to God’s world.
If your work is placing unhealthy demands that are hurting yourself or the people entrusted to your care, that is a problem. Work that damages our person and impairs our relationships is not a sustainable option. We are called to care for ourselves and our families. You may need to reevaluate your work life balance to see if you need to establish some healthier limits around the demands of your work.
We are never called in scripture to submit to abuse. Jesus called us instead to hold people accountable for their behavior (Matthew 18:15-20). It is appropriate to hold people accountable. If your job is robbing you of joy and peace, if you are having to set multiple limits around the expectations of your work, it could be time to consider if this is a healthy environment for you to work. Perhaps God is closing a door and inviting you in a new direction of service.
So how should Christians see quiet quitting? We should be diligent workers who use our gifts for God’s glory while setting wise limits that allow us to care well for ourselves and the family that God has entrusted to us. Ask God how you can honor him with the work that you do and listen carefully to hear how the Spirit is leading you.
Rev. Deb Koster
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra