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The plans of the heart belong to man,
    but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
    but the Lord weighs the spirit.
Commit your work to the Lord,
    and your plans will be established.

Work. We all do it. It’s an integral part of life. It occupies at least 40 hours each week for most people. However, for many, those 40 hours are dreaded. They’re the least satisfying and most lamented part of the week. Friday is anticipated like a good meal or like seeing an old friend. There are a number of reasons we have a complicated relationship with work. The main reason may be that we have lost touch with God’s design for work – and when we lose touch for with God’s design for work, we remove ourselves from God’s blessing over work.

The biblical narrative begins with a human being in a garden. One of the first things God does, is give Adam a job (that his wife will soon join him in). Genesis 2:15 states, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” Before sin enters into the world and before the fall, there is work. In fact, work is designed by God – he was first boss. Work is not a necessary evil, but rather a designed blessing. Many people work jobs where that is hard to believe, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Work carries a blessing in two primary ways. First, it’s through work that we get to provide for our needs and the needs of our family and friends. In Proverbs 12:11, Solomon wrote, “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.” Solomon claimed that one of the rewards of work was that there is plenty of bread. Now, there are certainly outliers to this assertion, but Solomon is making a statement that is generally true – if you work, you eat. The second blessing of work is that we get to contribute to the common good. Regardless of what job you have, there is some way you are adding value to the lives of people around you. Martin Luther made that point poignantly when he recounted: when we pray, ‘Lord, give us today or daily bread…’ God answers that prayer in a very complex way. There was a farmer who planted seeds, God sent the rain, someone came and harvested the field, someone bought the grain, another person baked the bread, someone came and picked up the bread and took it to the store, another person stocked the bread on the self, and someone sold you the bread. There are many human hands involved in God answering the prayer for daily bread. And so it is with nearly every job.

To our detriment, we have made a division between sacred and secular jobs. In her wonderful essay, Why Work, Dorothy Sayers wrote, “It is the business of the Church to recognize that the secular vocation, as such, is sacred. Christian people, and particularly perhaps the Christian clergy, must get it firmly into their heads that when a man or woman is called to a particular job of secular work, that is as true a vocation as though he or she were called to specifically religious work.” She is right. What you for those 40 hours each week, is a holy calling. It’s not just a job, it’s a vocation. Take a few moments today and think about how your work provides and contributes. Understanding these two things will help you better embrace God’s blessing in your work.[/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Ryan Paulson  

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