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The Goodness of Work

Work is Hard 

If there is one thing that is clear to everyone, it is that work is hard. We try to make it better by saying things like, if you find a job you love, you will never work a day in your life. The reality is that even if you are doing something that you love, it will still be work. There will be days that you end up even resenting the thing you love. You may love fishing, and your dream job is to be a professional fisherman. There will be days when nothing is fun. Things break, and tempers rise. This holds true for every job. Sometimes, we are tempted to think that our lives would be better without work. We have sayings like, living for the weekend, and thank God it’s Friday. But work is something good. We are created to work. 

Work Exist Before the Fall

When Adam is created, he is given the task of subduing the earth. Genesis 1:28 states, "And God blessed them. And God said to them, “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.” This is a command to work. A command to make the creation useful and profitable. It is part of the fall that makes work hard. If there had been no fall, work would still exist but would not have had unsatisfying elements. While it lasted, Adam worked the Garden of Eden. This work was glorious. It was done before the Lord as he walked through the garden. If there had been no sin, work would have continued that way. Sadly, the fall is a reality that we face every day. 

The Glory of Work

Another element of work that we often face is the idea that some work is more holy than others. For example, it is frequently thought that vocational ministry is somehow more righteous than other work. This has led many to think of their jobs as somehow less. This is something we need to reject. All work, when done for the glory of God and in submission to his commands, is holy work. To illustrate this point, we do not need to look past Adam, but we will. Adam was a gardener at first, and his work was to the glory of God. After the fall, it is pretty clear that he continues to work in farming and gardening. His children take up the work of agriculture and animal care, respectively. Notice that none of them are explicitly ministry work, and yet they are still clearly something good. 

Looking At Other Workers

Noah further illustrates the point when, after the flood, he first plants a garden, a new Eden, if you will (Genesis 9:20). But wait, I hear you say. Those are not good examples because Noah and Adam did not have anyone besides their families to minister to, so there was no need for vocational ministry. Then, I would point you to Paul. Paul was an Apostle of Christ and a faithful minister of the gospel and yet saw it as a good and glorious thing to make tents (Acts 20:33-35). He did this so that no one could say he was taking advantage of the churches he ministered to. The idea is simple. Work that glorifies God comes in all forms. 

Follow Your Calling

Each one of us is called to work, but not everyone is called to the same kind of work. Each one of us has been given gifts and a desire to do things. Some people really love building things. Other people thoroughly enjoy growing plants. Another person has a gift for working with people and making food, so they start a restaurant. All these things can be done as holy work. This is not to say that all work is sacred work. For example, being an illicit drug dealer cannot be holy work because it has, at its core, a rejection of law and order. But when we do our work for the Lord in accordance with what he has commanded, it is holy work. So, whatever you do, do it for the glory of God. Even if you are not working in your preferred job, you can still do righteous work by doing it for God’s glory. Even if you hate your job, as a Christian, you have a responsibility to do that job to the best of your ability. So glorify God where you are. Work hard. Demonstrate your love for Christ by doing your best in everything you do, trusting in Christ to carry you through it all.

Soli Deo Gloria 

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