The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.
Work. I’ve been thinking about it a great deal lately and this seemed an appropriate topic as everyone will be off celebrating not being at work over the Memorial Day weekend. Our pastor preached on it last week, the beginning of series which I think might wreck me. To work is to be productive. To work is to find and create usefulness in life. To work is to add to the world in some way. It sounds so noble. That’s why we speak of it as a calling. To find your calling is like achieving the highest level of Buddhist serenity. It is being one with both yourself and the world around you. God placed Eden at Adam’s feet. He did not need to attend a series of interviews, take a few jobs just to pay the bills, climb a corporate ladder. His option was one and it was glorious and he still chose to try and re-purpose it for his own means. He wanted more. Paul exerts us in Colossians to pick our work and then DO IT, with our whole hearts. He was a man not lacking in self-drive and determined from the start and God forcefully pointed him in the right direction when he refused to seek it of his own accord.
Here’s the thing, I’m not one who struggles with viewing work as an epic calling. Work and I share the same love language. Whether it be school work or teaching or writing, I have run at it with full force, arms pumping and breath catching like a kid in her first timed mile in P.E. I crave a purposed life. This, perhaps, is my best gift and downfall. What is it the superheroes say? “With great strength comes great responsibility.” Because life isn’t always epic. And work, in the worldly sense, can’t always come first. My writing and financial goals cannot take precedence over my role as wife and spouse. There is “work” of the Biblical sense that needs tending. Relationships are work too—perhaps the best kind. Wasn’t that what Adam’s true calling was—to be in relationship with his wife and future family and the world in which God placed him? Wasn’t that what Paul’s speech is all about? To be an early Christian was to live in community with others and lead by example, an open life. Yet for some reason, my mind struggles to sing its praises.
I can nod whole-heartedly with Steve Jobs when he says, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do…Don’t settle.” He would know.
But I have a harder time agreeing with Dorothy Sayers when she writes, “That [work] should, in fact, be thought of as a creative activity undertaken for the love of the work itself; and that man, made in God’s image, should make things, as God makes them, for the sake of doing well a thing that is well worth doing.”
I want to re-purpose my definition of work. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with viewing relationships as work, if it makes you “work” at them. I want, like God and Paul and Sayers exclaim, to see all my endeavors, both paid and not as a creative activity that praises God. I want the same conviction to pursue my personal relationships as I do my “platform.” I want the non-recorded pieces of my life to shine true.
Do you struggle to prioritize the part of your life that is “off the record”? Do you value relationships as much as your job?
Sunday Thoughts Link Up!
It’s time for another Sunday Thoughts Link-Up! I know there are many out there with wisdom that could encourage all of us. As long as it’s Biblically-based, I’d love for you to join up and then read and comment on what others have shared. Please also leave a comment here. Think of this as a Sunday morning community group that comes to you. And grab the button if you like…