The Joy of Work
It’s hard to keep going on a day like that. It’s hard to persevere at monotonous, mundane, day-to-day tasks when it seems like there are so many other, more important things we could be doing. It’s hard to give up our own plans in order to serve our families or employers.
However, even right at the beginning of time, in a perfect world, work was an essential part of human life. God took Adam and ‘put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it’ (Genesis 2 v 15). Eve was given to Adam as a helper in his calling. When we work, we are doing what God, from the beginning, has ordained for us to do.
The Lord Jesus Christ was not ashamed to work hard. He spent many years labouring as a carpenter. Hugh Latimer said: ‘This is a wonderful thing, that the Saviour of the world, and the king above all kings, was not ashamed to labour; yea, and to use so simple an occupation.’ If Christ, who was Lord of all, undertook menial tasks while on earth, isn’t it a high calling for us to do the same?
The Bible places no distinction between the importance of ‘secular’ and ‘spiritual’ work. We can undertake all our tasks, whether evangelising, helping at church activities, sending an email or cleaning the bathroom, in service to God. It was William Tyndale who commented that while there is a great external difference between washing dishes and preaching God’s word, there is no difference whatsoever in how much God is pleased when they are faithfully done. In Ephesians 6 v 6 servants are exhorted to go about their daily work ‘as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart’. Every task we are legitimately called to do can be carried out to the glory of God.
It is an exciting thought that every job, however small, is significant because through it we can glorify and obey God and show love and service to others.
So next time I have an exam to revise for, a room to tidy, a little sibling to dress or an assignment to finish, I’ll try to remember that however insignificant, however small, however mundane my task, it has been ordained by God, for a purpose, at this moment in time. One of the smallest acts on earth – the giving of a cup of cold water – is of great significance in God’s sight.
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