“Let him labor, working with his hands what is good.” Ephesians 4:28 NKJV
“Work is a joy when what you are doing and where you are doing so partners with God.”
My thoughts today are about “why they call it work.”
Work is not always that enjoyable, is it? That’s why they call it work! Whether it’s called homework, or housework, or just work, where you do it is called a workplace. A major part of your life will be engaged in work. When so much of your years will be work related, it seems it would be wisest to better understand that, and to make the best of those hours and years. It is amusing that teens cannot wait to get their first job and those same teens’ grandparents often cannot wait for their last one.
Have you ever wondered if work is somehow related to Adam and Eve’s sin in Eden? Let me try to clear that up. It is wrongly assumed that work became a part of the penalty for their disobedience. Reading what God said to Adam about “painful toil” and the “sweat of your brow,” it would be easy to think that God decided work would be just for Adam’s misdeed. Read Genesis 3:17-19 NIV.
But look a little closer in the preceding chapter and you will see that meaningful work was both a gift from God, and Adam’s anticipated response to the bounty into which God created and placed him. “The Lord took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Genesis 2:15 NIV. Yes, there is effort and sacrifice, and sometimes work just feels like – well, work! Work can be draining and difficult on many levels but consider this, there is also an element about your daily labor that is meant to be incredibly fulfilling and internally satisfying.
You were created to be productive, commanded to be fruitful, and you will not be fully content without that happening. “So God created man in His own image . . then God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion.’” Genesis 1:28 NKJV. You have a holy assignment, and it was not meant to be drudgery or punishment.
Your understanding of work changes when you dare to believe that what you are doing and where you are doing so is at the direction of your Heavenly Father and in partnership with Him. Let me address a couple of reasons why work is a blessed partnership. God wants to bless and abundantly reward your labor, “You will make your way prosperous, and then you will good success.” See Joshua 1:8 NIV/3 John 2 NIV. Maybe that’s why work is often called gainful employment.
Through your labor God wants to meet all your needs, and give you some to spare. “Let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.” Ephesians 4:28 NKJV. Did you notice why God wants to give you some to spare? It is because God wants you to have your needs met and more, but not merely so you will have more and more than you need. Your Father wants to include you in His blessing plan of having something to share.
My prayer for you today is to know the joy that comes from serving God in your work.