Arbeit, trabajo, travail…work. The daily grind, the 9 to 5, the salt mines…work. What’s the feeling you get when you hear that word? Does it excite you—get your adrenaline pumping? Or do you get a knot in your stomach? Are you glad to be retired?
Whether you have retired or are still clocking in, statistics tell us that Americans spend 30% of our lives working—and that doesn’t include commute or overtime or business trips—or time thinking, planning, worrying about work outside of work.
I believe that God cares about our lives including the third of our lives spent working. He’s not silent about work in the Bible either. In fact if you read Genesis carefully you’ll note that Adam was working in the Garden of Eden before there was a curse.
That’s right—God created work. But it was wonderful back then. Only after the curse did Adam have to deal with thorns and thistles in the Garden. He worked by the sweat of his brow. In fact work became for him “painful toil.”
Nevertheless, God created work and Genesis describes these aspects of work:
Stewardship: The Bible tells us that we were created to be stewards of God’s creation. We are to take personal responsibility for what happens in and to this world and the people in it and business and government and church.
Human dignity: The Bible teaches that God created humans as decision-making creatures. No matter where we work (or don’t work for that matter) whether in business, government, the non-profit sector or the home, we are called to act like creatures who have been created in God’s image and treat other humans likewise, as fellow “image bearers.”
Joy: In Christ we have the privilege and responsibility of restoring work to its original purpose and of restoring one another as well. The result of doing that is joy—a deep, abiding, inner peace that no circumstance can take away because we are doing God’s will and functioning in His presence.
What’s my point with all this? Whether you still work or are retired, you have been created uniquely by God with a dignity bestowed by Him (endowed by our Creator with certain, inalienable rights) for a purpose. When you live in that purpose it brings joy.
For you, that might mean finding joy in the salt mines. It may mean appreciating your retirement at Robson with (not so?) fond memories of the salt mines. But it also means that you are still uniquely positioned to make a contribution in this world.
The Apostle Paul says it this way: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10, NIV).” Find that “good work” and experience the joy God intended when He created work in the first place. Hope to see you in church.
Jim Mann, Ph.D. pastors New Life Church at Robson Ranch. This interdenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. Visit New Life’s website: www.NewLifeDenton.org for more information.