It is likely you will spend more time doing one thing this week than anything else: working.
Kids work a lot, even though they lack jobs. Many retirees say they work more now than when they were employed. And then there are stay-at-home parents, who may not have a job but certainly have their hands full with work (and a voucher to a special place in Heaven).
All of us work.
Some people say if you find something you love, you’ll never work again the rest of your life. That’s likely an overstatement for most, and definitely wasn’t originally spoken on a Monday morning. Work isn’t always fun, but it can be rewarding. And it sure beats not having anything meaningful to do. Work provides income, purpose, well-being, and social connectedness. Our work is not just a job, but also a calling. The word vocation is about being summoned or named (same root as vocal or vocabulary). This makes sense, since God calls us to work.
In the story of the Garden of Eden, God doesn’t give Adam the garden just to be his home; the garden is Adam’s office, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to till and keep it” (2:15). This same phrase “till and keep” is used for priestly work in the Temple. Eve is created to be Adam’s helper. She’s not only a wife, but also a colleague.
Everyone in the Bible works. Moses is a shepherd. Amos is a farmer. Deborah is a judge and general. David is a politician and poet. Paul makes tents. James and John fish. Lydia sells textiles. Jesus is a builder.
The Bible values work. But people’s value is not assigned based on their job. A king can ruin a nation. A shepherd can restore it. A hero in one story can be a sex worker; a villain in another story can be a priest. Tentmakers can persuade politicians. A carpenter can attract the masses. So people get identified in the Bible by what they do. But that doesn’t settle the matter. The question is: how do they do what they do? Better: how is God at work through our work?
Beginning May 7th, I’ll present a series of teachings called God at Work. I’ll ask questions like: How does God work through us when we are working? What does it mean to find joy in our work? How can we work hard in a way that brings the fruit of the Spirit, while also attending to rhythms of rest and sabbath? How do others experience the good news through our work? Please attend live or download later so that you don’t miss any of these important messages.
May 7: The Call of Vocation
May 14: Good Works at Work
May 21: Take This Job and Love It
May 28: Everybody’s Workin’ for the Weekend