Work. A blessing? Are you kidding me?!
I know it may feel more like a 40 hour a week death row sentence sometimes, but that was not God’s initial intention when He created work.
Yes, that’s right, God created work and it was good.
[Tweet “Work was a blessing before the fall. It can be a blessing again.”]
Work was actually created before the fall of mankind. Look in Genesis 2.
“ Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made.” (Genesis 2:8)
The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. (Genesis 2:15)
So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. (Genesis 2:19)
Adam had work to do. He didn’t lie around in the garden all day popping grapes and soaking his feet in the rivers. He had a job to do. His job was being a gardener. And when Eve came along, he got some help in his work.
When God finished His creation, what did He call everything He made? Good.
That means work was good. Before the fall.
It didn’t become “work”, until after the fall.
And to the man he said,
“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree
whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,
the ground is cursed because of you.
All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.
It will grow thorns and thistles for you,
though you will eat of its grains.
By the sweat of your brow
will you have food to eat
until you return to the ground
from which you were made.
For you were made from dust,
and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17-19)
We can relate to that part, right? By the sweat of our brow….whew! That explains why so many people dread Monday mornings.
The nature of work changed after the fall, but the necessity of it didn’t. It was always necessary to work. Work was a blessing before the fall, and a burden after it. But just as God is in the business of redeeming mankind and the fallen world, He also desires to redeem our work into a blessing again.
Would you like your work to be a blessing?
Here are 3 ways to redeem your work from a curse to a blessing:
1. View your Work as Worship
Worship? Really? Isn’t that where we stand with hands raised and sign Matthew West songs? Well, that’s one way to worship God. But worship involves more than singing. Worship by definition is the adoration and reverence for Deity. Worship denotes action.
Look at Romans 12:1:
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.”
Surrendering our bodies (and our work) to God is an act of worship. A daily surrender of our work to God so He can work out His purposes in us and through us is how our work becomes an act of worship. Worship requires surrender and sacrifice.
Think about it. It all belongs to God anyway. We are merely letting go of what we think is ours. None of it is ours, including our work.
I own a violin. It’s beautiful. Crafted by hand by my great Uncle in 1908. In my hands, that violin is pretty pathetic. It makes noise, that’s for sure. But if I took that violin and put it in the hands of Itzak Perlman or Joshua Bell, it becomes breathtakingly beautiful. The same is true for our work. Our work done our way, for our glory is pretty pathetic. But our work, surrendered to God for His purposes becomes a beautiful worship song in heaven.
The problem is most people give God most, but not all of their lives. Worship is a Sunday thing. Work is Monday through Friday. They never take the leap from Sunday to Monday.
Make your work into worship by surrendering it to God.
[Tweet “Combine your work and worship to make it “workship”.”]
2. View your Work as Ministry
Who here feels they are called to full-time ministry?
[cure the crickets]
What if I told you that the verse we just looked at in Romans 12 says we are all in full-time ministry? Would you believe it?
There is no separation between sacred and secular for God’s kids. God almighty resides within us by the Holy Spirit. We are God’s temple, so then all we do becomes holy.
When something is holy, it means it is set apart for God’s exclusive use. The act of worship through surrendering our work also turns it into full-time ministry. It may not be vocational ministry, but it is ministry to God.
According to John Macarthur, “Ministry” is from the Greek word diakoneo, meaning “to serve” or douleuo, meaning “to serve as a slave.” In the New Testament, ministry is seen as service to God and to other people in His name.
As you and I serve God and others with our work, and we do it for God’s glory (worship-surrendered), it becomes ministry and you and I are called to full-time ministry.
[Tweet “You can’t call yourself a servant of God and leave the 40 hours of week out of the picture.”]
We serve God with our work by how we work for God.
We serve others by how we work for them, and with them.
This type of ministry is one way God redeems work for good from the curse.
3. View your Work as Missions
Billy Graham once said that the marketplace was the last great mission field. I believe it. I see it every day. It is one place that God is still banned from entering, right? Like we can keep God out. What a joke.
Your HR department, or company policy may keep you from sharing openly without initiation, but that doesn’t keep God from going to work with you. God is within you, remember? So everywhere you go, God goes with you. There is no door locked to God.
What does God see when He looks at the work He has called us to do? Does He see the impact of a product or service? Does He see the company’s bottom line?
[Tweet “You see a co-worker, God sees His creation.”]
God sees His creation. He sees you and all of the people He has intentionally placed around you for 30, 40, 50 hours a week. He sees the impact you can have on the lives of those around you. He sees hearts and souls-eternal ones, not temporary. Not fleeting. Not forgotten.
Ken Blanchard, a well-known business author/speaker talks about labeling the “forever” and the “temporary”. If you were to take post-it notes and go around your workplace labeling what is temporary and what is eternal, you would find that the only things labeled “eternal” will be other human beings. The spreadsheet, the lesson plan, product or service-all temporary. The people are eternal.
People are your mission. You are a missionary. Your workplace is your mission field.
What would your week look like if you switched your view of work from a curse to a blessing?
How would your work change if you put these 3 things into practice?
Would you have more joy and purpose in your work?
Would your work become a blessing to you and others?
Why not try it? What do you have to lose?