Friday, February 1, 2013

A New Perspective on Work

     My son has taken a new job as an EMT in Kentucky.  He trained for this position and loved the classes.  Now he is getting to apply what he has learned and he is enjoying it.  As we talked the other night, he said there were some aspects that didn't seem real exciting.  I told him from my long experience that it doesn't matter what you do in life there will always be parts you do not enjoy or look forward to doing.  For example, I enjoy ironing but I do not like cleaning bathrooms.  Doing laundry is a breeze but I dislike folding.  Nevertheless whether at home or in the office where I work, there are aspects to what I do that are just not fun, but they are necessary.  It was not always like this for man.
     In the Garden of Eden, God created a perfect environment for man.  He placed Adam there to tend the garden.  Genesis 2:15 reads:  "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it."  God's only directive to Adam was not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for if he did, he would surely die.  We know what happened when Adam and Eve ate from that tree.  Sin entered the world for they had disobeyed God.  The result?  God told Eve that she would have pain in childbirth and that her husband would rule over her.  To Adam, God said:  "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it', cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.  By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust and to dust you shall return" (Genesis 3:17-19).  Sounds to me as though Adam went from the perfect environment to one which promised  harder work than before.  This was a direct consequence of sin.  However, this was not the end of the story.
     When Jesus, our perfect second Adam, came into this world, He redeemed us from the curse of the Law that we were bound too setting us free from sin and death by His sacrifice for our sins on the cross.  While we still have to work to earn a living, we can go about our daily routine as a Christian with a new heart and perspective.  We still live in this world so we cannot escape the consequences of a fallen habitation.  There is no perfect job and there are no perfect people.  Therefore, we will have our daily trials with short tempered co-workers and people who have an attitude.  Yet, as believers, we also have a chance to shine the light of Christ to those around us.
     Paul's letter to the Colossians spells out for us our attitude about work:  "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the lord you will receive an inheritance as your reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ" (Cols. 3:23-24).  Now this puts a different perspective on the daily activity we call work.  Two points stand out in this passage.  We are to work heartily.  That means we are to give it all we have got each day whether we are doing housecleaning or working in an office.  Secondly, we are to work as if we are working for God not men.  Yes, we answer to a boss in our jobs, but ultimately, as Christians, we are working for the Lord because this is where He has placed us to bloom.  If we are to be salt and light in a fallen world so that some will come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, then it stands to reason that we are in the place where God wants us to be at this time in our lives.
     As I told my son, each job is a ministry of sorts.  We are the hands and feet of Jesus Christ to a world in need wherever He plants us.  In my son's situation, he has the opportunity to be with people at a critical time in their lives when they are sick, injured or even dying.  To comfort someone during a crisis, is, indeed, a ministry.
     A smile, a prayer, a hand of friendship, a kind word, an invitation to church or a Bible study, a listening ear are all things we can offer others in our job.  All these things open the door to sharing our faith with those who need to hear some Good News.  Jesus Christ is that "Good News" and we are His ambassadors wherever we the home and outside the home.
     Jobs are not always easy and in some cases, they are more than a challenge, but God has given us work in this world and how we do it will either draw men to Christ or turn them away.  Let us give God the glory by working heartily and remembering that He is our boss.  When we do, our reward will be far more than a mere paycheck.  Selah!

The picture is courtesy of Eyone at Wikipedia Commons.

I welcome your thoughts about work and how the Lord is using you where you are at.  Blessings to you all...may you be encouraged!

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