I’ve been working in one form or another since I was 13 years old, first as a babysitter, than as a McDonald’s employee. I was one of the rare people who worked fast food for more than a week. I worked there 3 years. In my adult life, I have been an autism therapist, a children’s pastor, a stay at home mom, and now, a leader in a different church community. Work has been a big part of my life, just as I’m sure it has been for yours. Work is part of our shared experience as humans, however varied the form that work takes in our lives.
But what is God's purpose for work? If it's where we spend so much of our time, what does it look like to live out our faith in that setting?
Work was part of God’s plan from the beginning. It is not a result of a broken world. It is not a mistake. It is intrinsically good. It is part of the design of humanity to partner with God in creation.
God could have filled the earth himself, but he invited humanity to be co-creators with him; to build upon his foundation, and create cultures, societies, cities, art, and more.
Sadly, though, after the perfection and harmony of the beginning, Adam and Eve became convinced that God was holding out on them. They grasped for something they were meant to find in God alone. They ate the one fruit they were told not to have, sin entered the world, and the effects snowballed immediately.
Before long, God pronounced His judgment about what would happen to them and to the world as a result of their choice. One of the big consequences was the nature of work.
Today we know how often work is difficult. That’s why complaining about it is one of the most common topics of conversation between friends.
The thing is, the Bible talks about the frustration of work, too. I love that the Bible doesn’t pretend things are easier than they are.
As part of our church sermon series on work, I did a message about the toil of work, and how Christ meets us there to redeem it. The above words were part of that message, along with a few more. I thought I would share a link to listen to that message if you are interested.
Click here and listen to the message called "The Reward of Work."
And, as part of that message, I also wrote a prayer that I wanted to share with you. A prayer for how Christ might use our work to bring His redemption and grace. You can click on the picture above to print out a 5 by 7 graphic, or just read from the text below:
Christ, work through me today To bring healing into hurt To find potential in others To shine light into darkness To create beauty in ugliness To bring order into chaos. Christ, work in me today To feel humility regardless of success To be disciplined regardless of accountability To find joy regardless of reward To love regardless of how I am loved To seek You regardless of what else pulls my attention. Christ, work on my behalf today, As I rest in my identity as Your beloved.
Whatever kind of work you find yourself in today, whether in or out of the home, that is my prayer for you.