I Was Made for Work

Yesterday was a long day. After dinner, I still had emails to answer and PowerPoint slides to edit. (I work at a university.) This was after being up at 6 am to help my daughter get to school, an hour of writing and editing before I left, a meeting by 9 am, more meetings and emails through the afternoon, walking the dog, throwing together a little dinner and then picking up my wife at the airport. Yup, it was a long day. But was it a good day?

A day like yesterday makes me question what kind of life I was made for. I sometimes think the “ideal life” is sitting quietly, thinking, and talking with a few friends. Another attractive option—especially after a few days at the beach—is the “life of ease.” Doing nothing at all, and doing it in a beautiful location.

The only problem is that neither of these options is what God thinks. “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule” (Genesis 1:26). Note: there is not even a pause between those thoughts! We are made like God—creative, active, engaged—so that we can do our work, with God, of caring for God’s world. When I teach or when I am doing the dishes or doing a little yard work, I am doing what God designed me to do. I was made to work.

Work is not some kind of punishment or accident. In the Gospel of John, the word “work” is used more than 20 times, mostly about the work that Jesus does. In John 5:17, Jesus defends His “hands on” approach to life: “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I too am working.” In Matthew, Mark and Luke, the word “work” or “worker” is used over a dozen times, and in every case, it is used to mean something good! Yes, we need rest and we need wisdom to not burn out, but work is not the problem. (The problem is working to please ourselves and others, not God.)

Yup, yesterday was a long day. And I think God would say it was a good one.

 

Resources

The Gift of Work“? I thought it was a curse! Check out this Bible study and others to help you think about work in the resource section of Dean’s website, human365.org.