Work, whether paid or unpaid, includes all meaningful and moral activity apart from leisure and rest. Work is fundamentally about contribution, not compensation, adding value to others. (Tom Nelson)
Pray |Lord, may my hands, mind and heart work as if working for you.
When babies are born and grow we see personalities, strengths, gifts, talents and preferences emerge. We watch them pretend to be explorers, builders, dancers, scientists, moms, dads and so much more. Before we know it they are coming alongside us to wipe up spills, pound nails, wash cars, plant gardens and whatever else we do; it simply seems to be in our nature to want to help.
Read | Genesis 1:28; 2:15; 3:17-19
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
Reflect | Spend some time reflecting on one or more of the following:
It’s ironic to consider the toddler happily going back and forth across the lawn with his or her play mower, and then years later that same teen grumbling about having to mow the lawn. As adults, roles, jobs and careers that at one time were new and exciting many times become riddled with difficulties and frustrations. Though created to contribute, we see that work was made difficult through the fall in the Garden. Whether it’s a demanding boss or customer, an annoying co-worker, a deadline or budget that seems impossible to meet, power lines that need to be fixed despite the cold or heat, endless meals to plan and prepare, the umpteenth diaper change of the day, and on, and on, and on ~ in all work inevitably there will be difficulties.
Whether it’s outside or within the home, discipline, perseverance, growth, character and more can be developed through our work. Each of us absolutely has some level of influence in our work, is it my children, client, co-worker, neighbor, boss, or subordinate? How might I be influencing those I come in contact with on the daily? It can be easy to slip into believing that we work for the weekend, retirement, or to pay the bills, but as Christians we are called to work as if for the Lord, and to do it with all our hearts (Col. 3:23-24), despite the sometimes painful labor and toil.
Are you aware of your influence through your work? Have you considered your work as a part of kingdom work? If not, would your perspective and purpose shift if you did?
Written for Five Oaks Church Daily Life Devotional
Link to the first message in a four part series on Faith and Work ~
Why Your Work Matters to God and Why God Matters to Your Work
by Pastor Henry Williams
(message begins at 19:21)