|GAINESVILLE, Ga. (BP) -- "Work gives meaning to life. It is the form in which we make ourselves useful to others." This quote, by Lester DeKoster, the former director of the Calvin College and Seminary library, condenses the importance of this simple yet profound truth, that work is the basis for all that we are put on earth to accomplish.
You and I were designed by God to work. Work is not a curse that we must endure, it is the way we experience purpose, meaning and joy. It's what we were created to do -- work and produce. In fact, not working takes a greater toll on us in the long run. I don't mean resting and taking care of our bodies, but avoiding work altogether, which is the road to misery and ruin.
Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship, wrote, "God created human beings in His own image and part of being 'in His image' means that we are workers -- like God Himself. That's where that innate, inner drive for work comes from. Work is part of God's nature."
Since we are created in God's image and divinely ordained for work, we are to rule over the lower creation. This distinctive trait allows for self-expression, the potential to be used for great causes to serve the needs of the world and to bring glory to God in the process.
As believers, our work should be excellent in every way. Christians should be the most desired of all employees or employers in the world. Why? Because we believe in the dignity of hard work and strive to do our best with the motivation that we are representing the God who created us for His purposes. His Word gives us clear instruction to work hard:
"Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might" (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
"You shall work six days" (Exodus 34:21).
"If anyone will not work, neither let him eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
In my travels, I've experienced cultures where work is not valued or practiced among the men in the community. The consequences that result from these practices are always misery, suffering and extreme poverty. Far too often, Christians attempt to treat only the symptoms of poverty through generosity and charitable help alone. Unfortunately, if we avoid dealing with the root issue in these cultures -- a lack of knowledge of God and His teachings -- their errant beliefs remain unchanged. Misery simply returns when the giving stops.
However, if we make it our mission to nurture believers in this community, the bountiful fruit produced by transformed people will be an ongoing witness to the goodness of God and His ways. But that's not all!
Lester DeKoster expanded his insight into the exponential impact of our work on the whole of civilization: "Lay a blanket of seeds upon a field, and behold, a harvest! Lay a blanket of work upon the world, and behold, a civilization!"
WORK IN THE AREA WHERE GOD HAS GIVEN YOU SKILL
It honors the Father when we are true to work according to our design. Ralph Mattson and Arthur Miller make this point quite well in their book, "Finding a Job You Can Love": Continued...