Dobie Gillies once said, “I don’t have anything against work. I just figure, why deprive somebody who really loves it.” In that comment rests a universal challenge: To put excitement and enjoyment into work, we first must be willing to work. The satisfaction, fun, and fulfillment we experience in work are benefits we can give ourselves.
Work is not something out of God’s concern. It is a major part of human life that God takes very seriously. Work has intrinsic value—it is inherently worth doing. Here are three reasons why we work.
God is a Worker.
God first reveals himself in Scripture as a worker. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1 NIV). God calls this activity work. “By the end of the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing” (Gen. 2:2 NIV). God did not stop working after creation. He continues to work, upholding the creation, meeting the many needs of his creatures, and working out his purposes. And, of course, he accomplished the great work of atonement at the cross.
God is a worker. The fact that God calls what he does work and calls it good means that work must be significant, that it must have intrinsic value.
God created people to be his coworkers.
Man was created in the image of God and since God is a worker, man—created in God’s image—must be a worker, too. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden” (Gen. 2:15 NIV). Man was created not to work for himself, but to work as a coworker with God. Starting in the Garden of Eden, we are partners with God. The Preacher in Ecclesiastes calls work “the gift of God” (Eccl. 3:13 NIV). David describes this partnership, assigning dignity and value to man as God’s coworkers. “You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet” (Psa. 8:5-6 NIV).
Created in God’s image, we do something very Godlike when we work. Not only is God’s work significant; human work is significant, too. God ordains work. All legitimate work is an extension of God’s work. Legitimate work is that work that somehow contributes to what God wants done in the world.
The Bible does not differentiate between secular and sacred work.
We must shelf the idea that secular vocation is a step-child to sacred calling. We must purge our minds of such notions as “full-time Christian service” and “secular careers.”
William Tyndale, burned at the stake for making English translations of the Bible, said, “There is no work better than another to please God; to pour water, to wash dishes, to be a cobbler, or an apostle, all is one.” Martin Luther, the reformer, said, “Household tasks have no appearance of sanctity: and yet these very works in connection with the household are more desirable than all the works of monks and nuns.”
Your LIFE’s Work: Finding Significance in Your Job is a free eBook that provides greater clarity and inspiration for why we should work and how we can glorify God through our work. You can claim you copy by clicking here and signing up for my weekly One Minute Uplifts.