The Purpose of Work
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men (Colossians 3:23, NASB).
I clearly remember my first job. I was a freshman in high school with no bills (good times). My parents didn't pressure me to work I just wanted the income to spend pretty much. So I asked my brother to put in a good word for me at a local drive-thru grocery store. I was making a whopping $90, a week. My job responsibilities were simple, I took customers orders, grabbed everything quickly and put it in their trunk.
The concept was great, business not so much. In an attempt to gain business, we threw a neighborhood event. We had free refreshments, a bouncy house, some great discounts and even free bananas. Of course, there was a guy dressed in a full-body banana suit in the corner with a "Free Bananas" sign. I still remember a guy who stopped his car, walked over and took a picture. He said, "Duuuuude, I hope they're paying you well for this!" From that day on my perception of work was changed.
We have this wonderful idea of the American dream where we strike it rich! Where we get paid boat loads with little work or no work! But the entire concept is flawed.
Biblical Perspective of Work.
Did you know work isn't in vain? Not only is there an earthly purpose but a spiritual purpose to a day job, to your day job! First of all, as we all know "all things work together to the good of those who love God" that includes, everything. If we can't see a purpose in it doesn't mean there isn't one.
I understand at times we can do something so pointless it may seem utterly purposeless, like standing in a corner wearing a banana outfit. But there is a purpose. I learned that work is something worthy, something we should be proud of doing and glorify God through it.
Rick Warren, in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, he writes, "Work becomes worship when you dedicate it to God and perform it with an awareness of his presence."
It's Not Adam's Fault.
Many will curse Adam because he created work, not true. Work was something established by God. Work is ordained by God. It was His creative invention from the beginning. The Bible declares that God worked (Genesis 1).
Adam followed in God's footsteps, so we can see there is a purpose. Work itself is actually a “spiritual” stewardship, not a “secular” necessity. Because it was present to Adam before the fall. Not only did he have to tend the garden, but he needed to care for his wife and she for him!
God worked and Jesus worked as well, and he worked hard. Saving the word is a lot of work. "But Jesus answered them, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”" John 5:17
Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work…”John 5:17
Definition of Work.
The term “work” (or keep or cultivate) is actually the Hebrew word for serving. In fact the priest’s service in the tabernacle and temple was called “work” with the same term as used of Adam’s work. The worship-work of priests and the garden work of Adam are not distinguished in the Bible the way we tend to distinguish between secular and spiritual work in our modern Christian mindset.
King Soloman wrote, "Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God." Ecclesiastes 2:24
Work is For a Lifetime.
Yeah, you're going to pretty much work your entire life. You may do different types of "work" and hold different jobs, but we're always busy bees. By the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground (Genesis 3:19). God intends that humans are to work as long as they live (until we bite the dust). Meaningful activity plays a critical role in being a human being - whether paid or volunteer. The magical age of 65 shouldn't end meaningful, purposeful work.
Work is Not a Punishment.
Oh, the many mornings I've wakened up and raised my fist up to heavens and told Adam a couple things! But, it wasn't his fault, and it's not a punishment! God did not create work as drudgery but as a gift of fulfillment to life. A human being can do nothing better than...find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without Him, who can eat or find enjoyment (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25)?.
Excel in Your Work.
You are to render service, as to the Lord, and not to men (Ephesians 6:6-7); not to be men-pleasers but God-pleasers. God's standard of excellence needs to be the human standard. There is not a differentiating factor when we are serving God and men, we should always be focused in pleasing God with EVERYTHING we do.
My dad taught us this at a young age, I don't even think he's aware, but we noticed his work habits. He directed himself entirely to his activities. He excelled at doing everything purposefully and for the Lord. His day job, his pastoral role, and even in his relationships, he always makes time for people. On top of that he showed us his dedication to the Lord in prayer and study.
Work is Honorable.
All professions and all kinds of work, assuming they are legal and biblically ethical, are honorable before the Lord. There is no dichotomy between sacred and secular work. All work brings glory to God and fulfillment to you, if it is done to God's glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).
We preach the gospel and when needed use words. You manifest a powerful message, both verbal and nonverbal while your working. Have you stopped to think about this? How do others perceive God through your testimony at the office or school? Do you co-workers need to ask if you have some type of religion or can they just tell you love Jesus because there is no way someone can be so happy about being a banana (no, I wasn't happy, but Jesus forgave me).
Keep in mind, we are blessed with work to bless others. In his book The Treasure Principle, Randy Alcorn says: "God does not raise our income so that we can increase our standard of living, but rather our standard of giving.”
Your Work is Not To
1) Not to make you happy. Our source of happiness and satisfaction should always be centered in Christ. We are not happy because we work on the top floor or basement. The point is, contentment isn't found in always getting what we want but in always being satisfied with what we have. Sometimes, it isn't your position that makes you happy or unhappy, it's your disposition.
2) To Make You Rich. Our source of happiness and satisfaction should always be centered in Christ. We are not happy because we work on the top floor or basement. The point is, contentment isn't found in always getting what we want but in always being satisfied with what we have. Sometimes, it isn't your position that makes you happy or unhappy, it's your disposition.
In the next article, we'll examine and talk about perseverance in work. How we should press on and reach our goals, we'll also cover a few success stories and examples of people who made it. Perseverance in Work - God as a Co-Worker
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