Taking Care of Business
People’s feelings and attitudes about work run the gamut. Some love what they do; others detest the idea of work completely and daydream about winning the lottery so they’ll never have to work again. The following sentiments have been in songs and other pop culture expressions:
“Take this job and shove it, I ain't working here no more.”
“I don’t want to work, I just want to bang on the drum all day.”
“I’m taking what they’re giving cause I’m working for a living.”
“I owe, I owe . . . it’s off to work I go.”
Clearly, many people don’t feel positive about their jobs.
However, not everything you hear is pessimistic. There are tributes to faithful work as well such as this phrase from a popular country song: “Hello West Virginia coal miner, let me thank you for your time, you work a forty hour week for a living, just to send it on down the line.”
So what’s your attitude about work? Does it alternate between extremes? Are you content, or do you long for a day when you can retire independently wealthy and put work behind you? More importantly, what does God think about work? Does He care about your daily grind? Does God have an opinion about work?
Hi ho, hi ho…
This may be a surprise, but God created work. In the beginning, before sin entered the human race, God instituted work. When He first created Adam, the Bible says that, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15 NIV). After God created man he placed him in the garden for a specific purpose—not just to enjoy the garden, not just to eat the fruit, not only to walk and talk with God, but also to “work it and take care of it.” Work was not part of Adam’s punishment. True, work became toilsome after Adam and Eve were banished from the garden for eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When He explained the consequences of their sin, God said, “Because you ate the fruit when I told you not to, I have placed a curse upon the soil. All your life you will struggle to extract a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, and you shall eat its grasses. All your life you will sweat to master it, until your dying day” (Genesis 3:17-19 TLB). So, Adam’s sin certainly changed the nature of earthly work but it didn't change the basic truth that work is one of our responsibilities. Work is not a result of the curse! Fall or no fall, our work was part of the plan from the start. And it was meant to be pleasing to God.
We see the same emphasis on pleasing the Lord by how we work in Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” When we recognize that we are working for the Lord, there are profound implications. Consider your attitude toward work. If you could see Jesus as your boss, would you try to be more faithful in your job? The most important question you need to answer every day as you begin your work is this: “For whom do I work?” You work for Christ.