When I reflect on creation, one of the things we often don’t think about is that one of the first things God did after creating man was to give him a job: “Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it” Genesis 2:15. Furthermore, we see in verses 19 and 20, God gave Adam the task of naming the animals God had created.
The point being, the Garden of Eden wasn’t some hedonistic vacation that God simply placed Adam into – Adam and his heirs were given the task of cultivating and maintaining, or “working” God’s creation. It is later, after the fall that work became “frustrating.” We should not confuse the result of sin causing work to be frustrating with the false belief that work began as a result of sin.
One of the best sermons I ever heard on the importance of work was by Dr. Drew Landry, Senior Pastor of Spotswood Baptist Church in Fredericksburg Virginia during Spotswood’s annual “Stewardship Month” in February 2008. I have gone back multiple times throughout the years to review this message and I share it with you (linked), because it provides a paradigm shift, in my opinion, on how we should think about work – especially those in the Christian faith based community.
I call it a paradigm shift to contrast how the world typically views work. Often we hear work described as “a necessary evil,” or “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go,” or “Everybody’s working for the weekend,” as became popular via the 80’s band Loverboy. In other words, work is something we are forced to drudge through in order to get to the real purpose of life – which is leisure.
Since we should be investing a third of our lives in the work that we do, and a far less percentage on leisure – that seems like a depressing worldview to me.
This is a huge concern of mine, and I hope it is a concern of yours as well. When we consider our nation’s record low labor force participation rate with the fact that we must import a large percentage of our labor force – it seems as if segments of our society have lost the vision of the value of work. Work does more than simply provide a paycheck, it builds skills, pride and a sense of belonging and accomplishment – all values beyond monetary rewards.
The importance of work is a non-respecter of person issue. It impacts all cultures and demographics equally.
When we look at the society we see so many opportunities and so many challenges – the sky really is the limit, if we are simply willing to put our hands to the plow – and go to work!
Proverbs 16:27 – “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”
I hope you have a blessed week!