I have been reading a lot in preparation for my new sermon series “The Rest of the Week”. I am attempting to encourage the dignity of everyday work through the teaching of Scripture. It has been pretty rare in my experience to have the church talk about the work that takes up the majority of our days. When work is mentioned, it is more often just spoken of as a means to an end. As if the only value to working is that you get to share your faith with your coworkers or you get a paycheck to support your favorite ministries. But isn’t there a dignity to the work itself? Is work just a concession to life in a fallen world? Is our daily work merely something that we do to sustain us? Does the fact that we obtain pay for our labor make it less of a service unto God?
These are questions I will be seeking to answer from a Biblical perspective over the next few weeks. But as I was preparing for the overview message that traces the flow of work from the prefall garden, to the curse after the fall, and into the era we now live in of work in a broken world, I am growing in my understanding that our labor is a grace from God. All of us have a way in which we can be a blessing to civilization. Regardless of employment we all have a work niche carved out for us. All of us have something to contribute to the greater good of our community.
I want to be careful that I do not paint an all rosy picture of work. We all know that work in this broken world with sin and corruption is dense with weeds and thistles. Just this morning while typing this blog, I went to save it and it was all lost. This is draft number two . . . and if you are reading it, then it made it past the interweb gnomes that sometimes eat my posts.
The reality that our work often amounts to toil, doesn’t mean that it possesses less value. It just means that we have to work harder to achieve the same results in this broken world. But I desire for everyone to consider the ways that their work (employment or otherwise) contributes to the greater benefit of our society. As Lester DeKoster says in his book, Work: The Meaning of Your Life, “Lay a blanket of seeds upon a field . . . and behold a harvest! Lay a blanket of work upon the world . . . and behold a civilization!”
How is your work contributing to the common good?