Many people have a love/hate relationship with the word “work.” They like the idea of accomplishing goals and earning their keep, but the actual sweat and effort makes them squirm.
I often hear
men boys complain about their workload—the hours are long, the work is menial, their boss is a tyrant, the amount of homework stresses them out, it hurts their fingers—but then with a little bravado in their voice they announce, “Well, it’s just my cross to bear. Work is a part of the Fall. Thanks a lot, Eve,” and then they’re applauded for their perseverance.
CREATED TO WORK
Those guys are wrong. Work is actually not a part of the Fall. Adam began working the very day he was created. Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”
Work has always been a part of God’s original design for mankind. We were created to work. We were created to cultivate. We were created to create.
What comes with the Fall is not the reality of work but the cursing of our work (Gen. 3:17-19). Now what we create resists. What we cultivate rebels just like we did to God.
Sin has entered into our work. Instead of working to spread the glory of God, we gravitate towards two different extremes—laziness or idolatry. One man may hide between his parents' couch cushions to avoid working too hard at Taco Bell. The other works 90 hour weeks, neglects his family, his faith, and his health, all for a corner office.
Both are sin.
Work is a lot more difficult now, but we are still called to work and that work can still be good.
WHO'S THE BOSS
We were created to work but not for ourselves and not to create our own meaning. We work and create because—being made in the image of God—we are to reflect the God who created the world and works in human lives.
Our work is worship to Him. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”
You can be a pastor, a lawyer, a mailman, a student, a plumber, a stay-at-home mother, an accountant, or a barista and work hard and well, remembering the whole time your true employer is Jesus Christ. Negative attitudes and half-hearted service wouldn’t please an earthly boss, let alone our Heavenly One.
Jesus died that we would reflect Him in every aspect of our lives. How we flip burgers is not of little value. Everything matters.
That truth should encourage us to make those lattes or crunch those numbers to the best of our abilities—to the glory of Christ. Through your work you can show others how great your God is, that His transforming power infiltrates even the littlest of actions.
You don’t need a seminary degree or a title for permission to minister full-time as a vocation. A banker can make just as much an impact for the Kingdom as a pastor. But this is only possible if our work is for Christ and not ourselves. He is our Lord and Savior and He is the only One who can give our work true meaning.
For further reading check out Tim Keller's book, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work.
This post was adapted from a previous post by me on the Ekklesia Eugene blog.