Thursday, July 3, 2008

is work meaningless? (3) 7 things that give work meaning

Here's my list of things which give work meaning:

  • Work is a good gift from God for our joy (Gen. 1:28). Like all good gifts from God, we receive it with thanksgiving, bringing glory to God, "who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment" (1 Tim. 6:17). Thanksgiving makes "secular work" into something "holy" (1 Tim. 4:4).
  • After the Fall, work is marred by sin, futility, and discouragement. We honour God by enduring suffering with patience and joy. Paul said to the slave with an unjust boss, "if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God" (1 Pet. 2:20).
  • We work with honesty, integrity, responsibility, cheerfulness, humility, and loving service, glorifying God with our obedience, and attracting people to the gospel by being salt and light in this world. As Gordo commented here, "the bridge won't last but the love that built it will".
  • We work to provide food and shelter for our families. "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" (1 Tim. 5:8).
  • We work so as not to be a burden on others, like Paul, who said "we worked night and day, labouring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you" (2 Thess. 3:8).
  • We use the money we earn not only to meet our own needs, but to generously and cheerfully care for the needy, help our brothers and sisters in Christ, and further the cause of gospel work (2 Cor. 9). We obey God's command to "do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share" (1 Tim. 6:18).
  • We share the gospel with workmates, people who would otherwise not darken the door of a church, or pick up a Bible, from one end of the year to the other. My mum, who runs her own business, recently discovered this when many long-standing clients showed interest in the gospel. The world needs Christians in it, not in a holy huddle!
Charles Bridges says the Christian's work is a "work of faith". Work is a means of grace to our own souls, and a means of exalting God. Faith "enlivens our work with perpetual cheerfulness".

I'm still feeling my way towards a theology of work. But even if the results of our work decay and disappear, the faithfulness, love and joy with which we work will never fail.

So, bounce out of bed tomorrow, and off to work! And as you build, type, fix, sweep, or heal, remember that your thankfulness makes work "holy", that your loving integrity and patient endurance honour God, that you have the immense privilege of generous giving, and that you are God's beacon in this dark world.

This one's for you, Gordo ;)

image is from stock.xchng


Gordon Cheng said...

Jean! Loving it!

I don't have time for a big response right now, but I thought you might like to notice (although you've probably already seen it) that by happy coincidence, Gavin Perkins just blogged on this subject over at the Sola Panel.

You should drop by, leave a comment and send people back here. It's such a worthwhile subject, and what you're saying here is well worth paying attention to. Sorry not to be more substantial than that in response.

Trevor Cairney said...

Thanks Jean, a great post.

Linda said...


You might also be interested in this article on the Christian and Work by John Benton, published in this month's Evangelical Now newspaper in the UK.