The thought occurred to me earlier this week that work is a blessing. I don’t just mean it is a blessing in the sense of it brings you in money, but rather having productive and meaningful things to do (even when they don’t seem that way) is a blessing from God.
I’ve actually heard a radio preacher say that work is part of “the curse”. It took me by surprise. I have heard that some believe that, but this was a fairly familiar name in evangelical circles.
Perhaps they get the idea from Ecclesiastes?
17Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit. (Ecclesiastes 2:17, King James Version)
But, Solomon (assuming it was he who wrote it) also wrote that other things were vanity. In fact, the entire point of Ecclesiastes is to put God first in our lives because everything else is vanity (Ecc 12:13-14). The same book states:
22Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him? (Ecclesiastes 3:22, King James Version)
The Puritans believed one’s line of work was his “calling”. Indeed, I have met only a few that are doing exactly what they planned on doing. Time and events cause our plans to change, and we often end up in career paths we did not anticipate. To have a talent for something and to have a passion for it is indeed a blessing from God.
People often point to “the curse” and how Adam was supposed to work the ground “in the sweat of thy face” (Ge 3:19) as to why work is supposed to be part of “the fall” or whatever you want to call it. Yet, pain in childbirth is also part of “the curse”, but that doesn’t mean having children is part of the curse. It is the pain that God declared as something new, and the implication is that it wasn’t just the birth pains but rather the sorrow of raising children in a world filled with sin. Likewise, it isn’t working the ground that is a curse, but it will be hard – very hard.
What some people like to ignore in Genesis 3 is that Adam was given a job to tend the Garden before he sinned (2:15). This really was his “calling”, as there weren’t a whole lot of other jobs available. It literally was a calling from God.
Speaking of creation: God works.
17But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. (John 5:17, King James Version)
We are told over and over to do good “works”. IOW, the Christian life is supposed to be one of labor, not of leisure. It is supposed to “occupy” you, like an “occupation”. We are supposed to follow the example of God and Jesus and work.
Think of the creation event. It was work. The Holy Spirit moved, God spoke, and things happened.
And what did God do on the seventh day? He rested from His work. What are we commanded to do on the Sabbath day? Rest from our work. It is a blessing from God. It is a time to gather with like-minded people and with God.
What’s the flip side of the coin? If we do not work, we have nothing to rest from. Therefore, work is also a blessing from God.
May your day be filled with meaningful and productive work. May your work give something back to others. May you, your employer and your customers be able to enjoy the fruit of your labors.
This is why I disagree with a lot of people — and say farming (perhaps better put gardening) is "the world's oldest profession." 🙂