skip to Main Content


Early Church Fathers Quotes on Working

Epistle of Barnabas

“Neither shall you eat,” says he “the eagle, nor the hawk, nor the kite, nor the raven.” “You shall not join yourself,” he means, “to such men as know not how to procure food for themselves by labor and sweat, but seize on that of others in their iniquity, and although wearing an aspect of simplicity, are on the watch to plunder others.” So these birds, while they sit idle, inquire how they may devour the flesh of others, proving themselves pests [to all] by their wickedness.

The Didache

But receive everyone who comes in the name of the Lord, and prove and know him afterward; for you shall have understanding right and left. If he who comes is a wayfarer, assist him as far as you are able; but he shall not remain with you more than two or three days, if need be. But if he wants to stay with you, and is an artisan, let him work and eat. But if he has no trade, according to your understanding, see to it that, as a Christian, he shall not live with you idle. But if he wills not to do, he is a Christ-monger. Watch that you keep away from such.

Clement of Rome

The good workman receives the bread of his work with boldness, but the slothful and careless dare not look his employer in the face.

Shepherd of Hermas

Work that which is good, and of your labors, which God gives you, give to all that are in want freely, not questioning to whom you shall give, and to whom you shall not give. Give to all; for to all God desires that there should be given of His own bounties. They then that receive shall render an account to God why they received it, and to what end; for they that receive in distress shall not be judged, but they that receive by false pretence shall pay the penalty.

Take heed therefore; as dwelling in a strange land, do not prepare for yourself one thing more than is necessary to be self sufficient, and make ready that, whensoever’s the master of this city may desire to cast you out for your opposition to his law, you may go forth from his city and depart into your own city and use your own law joyfully, free from all insult. -ibid

But abstain from overmuch business, and you shall never fall into any sin. For they that busy themselves overmuch, sin much also, being distracted about their business, and in no wise serving their own Lord…But if any one work just one business, he is able also to serve the Lord; for his mind shall not be corrupted from (following) the Lord, but he shall serve Him, because he keeps his mind pure. If therefore you do these things, you shall be able to bear fruit unto the world to come. -ibid

These are they that are mixed up in business and cleave not to the saints. Therefore the one half of them lives, but the other half is dead. -ibid

Clement of Alexandria 

Besides, He makes preparation for a self-sufficing mode of life, for simplicity, and for girding up our loins, and for free and unimpeded readiness of our journey; in order to the attainment of an eternity of beatitude, teaching each one of us to be his own storehouse. For He says, “Take no anxious thought for to-morrow,” meaning that the man who has devoted himself to Christ ought to be sufficient to himself, and servant to himself, and moreover lead a life which provides for each day by itself. For it is not in war, but in peace, that we are trained. War needs great preparation, and luxury craves profusion; but peace and love, simple and quiet sisters, require no arms nor excessive preparation. The Word is their sustenance.


Grant now that there may be some righteousness in business, secure from the duty of watchfulness against covetousness and falsehood… .


And yet in the sequel it, the new law, says: “My Father works hitherto, and I work.” Does that mean, then, that He is still making heaven, or sun, or man, or animals, or trees, or any such thing? Nay; but the meaning is, that when these visible objects were perfectly finished, He rested from that kind of work; while, however, He still continues to work at objects invisible with an inward mode of action, and saves men. In like manner, then, the legislator desires also that every individual amongst us should be devoted unceasingly to this kind of work, even as God Himself is; and he commands us consequently to rest continuously from secular things, and to engage in no worldly sort of work whatsoever; and this is called our Sabbath.

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back To Top