Are we confused about work?
It is both noun and verb, art and craft, active and passive, finished and continuing, debilitating and renewing, and it is both labor and leisure. The law in physics (W=Fd) that says work happens when force moves a body in the direction of the force. Work is also the term for manual labor, a painting, poem, a production on a stage, and a white collar corner office This is an amazing noun!
The verb is equally diverse describing our actions from our motivations deep within, to the principles commanding our choices, to the simple actions of the day, to the business of leisure, to the reflection at the end of the day, and even to our restless subconscious minds while we sleep through the night. Human beings are working all the time.
When we have had our New Covenant Sabbaths—days of rest and worship— for most of us it is time to go back to work.
There is no way to summarize in this space how the noun and the verb affect each of us. Suffice it to say that we have jobs to go to and work to do. Until we consider the wisdom of God, work is one of our deepest needs and one of our least favorite things. This contradiction is easily observed. Listen to our declarations.
- “If you find a job you love, you will never work a day in your life.”
- “Thank God it’s Friday!”
- “I hate Mondays!”
- “Back to the salt mines!”
- “I’m out of work. I need a job!”
Indeed, to be out of work is a terrible thing, yet so many spend their lives working at jobs they hate, living for retirement and the all-too-brief vacations between now and then.
So what wisdom can be found to combat these natural responses to work?
The will of God is something to be proved in our lives.
We are not meant to live randomly or to work pointlessly. God has a plan for each of us. If we discover it early in life, we have time to prepare for it and to do that chosen work throughout our lives. If we discover it later, this has not short circuited God’s plan. He can work all the circumstances to allow us to do the work of getting back to the work He made us to do. We prove God’s will for us by either doing the work He called us to do or preparing to do that work
The attitude we possess when we are at work changes everything. Paul tells three ways we are to do the work before us:
- With all our life force,
- As unto the Lord and not unto men, and
- In the name of the Lord Jesus.
Today we have the choice to do our work sullenly, resentfully, half-heartedly, and in our own name, or to work cheerfully, thankfully, with our whole heart, and in the name of Jesus.
- We can choose to work for the boss, for the family, for the company, for ourselves, or for the money.
- We can also choose to do the work before us for the Lord Himself. When this is our choice, our work, if it is honest and helpful, becomes worship.
And it is fit to be God’s habitation.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
1 Chronicles 28:20
David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.
Lord Jesus, You have a work for me. Thanks for including me in the building of Your Kingdom on earth and Your church in the world. Let me be inspired by others but not distracted by them. They have their work; I have mine. Show me how I can do my work in the way the Bible says I should: as unto You and not unto people, in Your Holy Name, and with my full life force. Then my work will be a witness of You and an offering of worship to You. Help my work to be a blessing to those to whom I am responsible and help me be a blessing to those for whom I am responsible. Help me hear the words David spoke to his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work.” In Your Lovely Name, Amen.
Take My Life and Let It Be
Words: Francis Ridley Havergal; Music: Henry A. Cesar Malan
1. Take my life and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days—Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
2. Take my hands and let them move At the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet and let them be Swift and beautiful for Thee.
3. Take my voice and let me sing Always only for my King;
Take my lips and let them be Filled with messages from Thee.
4. Take my silver and my gold—Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect and use Ev’ry pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
5. Take my will and make it Thine—It shall be no longer mine;
Take my heart—it is Thine own, It shall be Thy Royal Throne.
6. Take my love—my Lord, I pour At Thy feet its treasure store;
Take myself—and it will be Ever only, all for Thee.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved