I am not educated in theology, so the following is my simple interpretation of the long story of what God wants us to do. If you accept the tenet that God does not change, consider what Noah and his family had to do to escape the flood. Did He will His people from Egypt to the promised land or did they have to journey for 40 years to get there? Throughout the Old Testament, God makes promises to His people but requires something of them that they may receive those promises.
Jesus, through His death, made salvation available to all of us who live in His will. Does He require something of us? Just to love God and to love our neighbors. The second part requires a lot from us and is a manifestation of the first part. Those same requirements are repeated throughout both the Old and the New Testaments. Compare Is. 58 and Mt. 25 beginning at v.31 and the consistency of what God expects of us becomes very clear. Jesus Himself said that any man who professes to love God but does not love his neighbor is a liar.
It is my firm belief that we will be judged less on how many churches we build and how many professions of faith we make and more on how we treat our fellow man. To think that following God’s commands to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc., does not require work, to me, somehow misses the mark.