Its Monday and you’re off to work. Are you already counting the days until TGIF? If you are, maybe you need a new perspective. Or a new job.
In The Beginning There Was Work
I worked for Air Canada, Soo Mill and Lumber, Kodak Canada, as a house painter, a cook’s assistant, tree trimmer, as a pastor and now as a coach. Like you, much of my adult life is spent working. For the most part, work is enjoyable and more than a pay cheque.
The best-selling book in the world begins talking about work as soon as it begins talking about anything – that is how important and basic work is.
Genesis describes God’s creation of the world as work. And the creation of the cosmos is recorded within a regular workweek of six days. And then Genesis shows human beings working in paradise.
Work And Life
“Work is as much a basic human need as food, beauty, rest, friendship, prayer, and sexuality; it is not simply medicine but food for our soul. Without meaningful work we sense significant inner loss and emptiness. People who are cut off from work because of physical or other reasons quickly discover how much they need work to thrive emotionally, physically, and spiritually.” Timothy Keller, Every Good Endeavour
Work – and lots of it – is an indispensable component in a human life. It is a supreme gift from God and one of the main things that gives our lives purpose. We don’t merely need the money from work to survive; we need the work itself to survive and live fully human lives.
A Manifesto On Work
We were designed to know, serve, and love God supremely and when we are faithful to that design, we flourish. But when we instead chose to live for ourselves, everything works backward. Entitled becomes a descriptor for our behaviour.
As God’s image bearers we function in the stewardship of creation. God owns the world, but He has put it under our care to cultivate it. It is definitely not a mandate to treat the world and its resources as if they are ours to use, exploit, and discard as we wish.
We were built for work and the dignity it gives us as human beings, regardless of its status or pay.
Through our work we bring order out of chaos, and create new entities.
Innovating like Diane Shaw and John Foo at Education Station or singing solos with Imagine Dragons, cleaning toilets – like my summer job years ago – or backstopping the Washington Capitals like Brayden Holtby – our work further develops, maintains, or repairs the fabric of the world.
In this way, we connect our work to God’s work.
The purpose of work is to serve and exalt something beyond ourselves.
There may be no better way to love your neighbour, whether you are writing parking tickets, software, or books, than to simply do your work.
And do it well.
What is your work? Please leave a comment below. Thank you.
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You hit the nail on the head with this wonderful blog, Bob! I have had many conversations with younger adults who quite intrigued by the idea of a government paid income so they can quit working and stay home. It has led to some interesting talk about work being an honor and a privilege to serve others as well as the mental and emotional value in an honest day’s labour. Let’s keep getting the word out there. God has designed us for work!
‘Work is not a Four Letter Word’ may be your best post yet. You had me at the title. By the end I was anticioating the book.
– Dave H
The trip to Israel sounds fantastic. Sorry we missed it.
I think youve got the date wrong.
I loved this blog Pastor Bob. I was a Dietary Technologist at The Cross Cancer Institute for over 22 years. I loved my job but, it was time to leave. Leaving a very toxic work situation. In my last chapter…I have still not found “that job”, even though I don’t have too many more years left. But, I also pray for good health to be able to work too. COVID certainly complicated my work situation…as it did to many others. I still believe that I will find a good fit to finish my career when it is time to retire. Thank you for sharing your blog with us. ❣️