In honor of Labor Day here are four truths your HR department probably didn’t cover in your orientation package…
1. Work is a gift
God created the man with a purpose: to enjoy fellowship with God and offer worship to God through work.
Genesis 1:26Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. [Yes, God loves to work, just look at creation]… 28 … “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” [Dominion is more than bragging rights, it means managerial prominence; if the gopher is messing up your putting green, you have the prerogative to translocate said gopher. Why? Because you are human and you are in charge.]
Gen 2:15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
And this was before the Fall and the Curse.
Ecclesiastes 2:24 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, …3:22 So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot.
An enjoyable, challenging and profitable career is one of God’s greatest blessings.
Yes, your job can be troublesome, but without it you’d lack the benefits.
Proverbs 14:4 Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.
Or, yes the absence of smelly, high-maintenance issues to deal with means you have no manure to clean up, but it also means no income stream.
2. Work has been cursed
That said, work bites.
All work, from scrubbing toilets to stock trading, is cursed and all workers from scuba instructors to overpaid actors experience bad days at work.
Genesis 3:17-19 …cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you [or thorny customers who ruin your day and prickly employees who pilfer your profit and obstructive government regulations that tangle you in red tape]; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” [Which is why no one on their deathbed says “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.” In fact, the office is partly (mostly) what caused the deathbed.]
This cursedness is quite unavoidable and very necessary to keep us from finding fulfillment in this life, and thus missing out on salvation and an opportunity to work in a sinless, curse-free environment forever.
Ecclesiastes 2:18-23 I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, …What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity. … 6:7 All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied.
If we loved our jobs too much, we wouldn’t see the need for a better world and a better Master than the Michael Scott’s of this world.
3. Work is not always for money
God allots work for us to do, and at times the world doesn’t see it as a job, but it is. Just because you don’t get paid wages for your labor does not mean you have to behave like the chronically unemployed video-game playing, late-sleeping, trust-fund mooch. For example, being a student can be a fulltime profession for a season, albeit one that drains our bank accounts instead of filling them. It should be seen as an investment in future earnings.
Another classic case-in-point of an unpaid career is housewife. Godly housewives (now there’s a TV show no producer is going to bankroll) are a model of unceasing labor.
Proverbs 31:27 She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Though her remuneration is less tangible than a paper paycheck, her industrious contribution to the family and society and God’s kingdom should be valued beyond the spot price of gold.
4. Work is about worship
Colossians 3:22-24 Bondservants, [interns/secretaries/cubicle dwellers] obey in everything those who are your earthly masters [shift-leaders/project managers/ board of directors], not by way of eye-service [e.g. minimizing your Facebook window as your boss walks in the door], as people-pleasers [brown-noses], but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men [wages/profit-sharing/commission], knowing that from the Lord [not your union and not your retirement fund] you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
So, if you are feeling dazed by the swirl of the under-paid-over-worked treadmill, take this labor day to enjoy your cursed job as an offering of worship to your real Boss, knowing that one day you will serve Him in a city where every day at work feels like a public holiday.