Are you “unequally yoked” at work?

2 corinthians on work Jul 11, 2022

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? (2 Corinthians 6:14-15)

The dictionary defines a “yoke” as “a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the plow or cart that they are to pull.” When two animals are yoked together, they have no choice but to move in lockstep as they work. They are bound to the unilateral actions of the other. 

In the context of human relationships to be unequally yoked with unbelievers is, in the words of one commentary, “to be in a situation…that binds you to the decisions and actions of people who have values and purposes incompatible with Jesus’ values and purposes.”

With that in mind, it’s clear that Paul is not saying we aren’t to befriend, work with, or purchase products and services from non-Christians. This interpretation would contradict much of Paul’s other writings (see 1 Corinthians 5:9-10, 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, and Titus 2:9-10). Paul is saying that it is unwise to be yoked—that is conjoined with, in-lockstep with, joined-at-the-hip with—unbelievers, whether in business, marriage, or any other partnership.

Why is this unwise? Because we have already been yoked with Christ (see Matthew 11:28-30)! Jesus is the one we are meant to move in lockstep with. Adding a third party who is trying to steer in a direction different from Christ’s is destined for conflict.

If you are unequally yoked with someone at work, pray for God’s wisdom as to how to become unyoked. But if you are largely independent of the actions of the non-Christians you work with, praise God for the opportunity to work in ways that “will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive” to them (see Titus 2:9-10).


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