Love Your Work:
Start by examining the word vocation. It comes from the Latin word for calling. One's vocation is more than just the job we have. In fact, our vocation may be separate from the way we earn our living--there are lots of students and work at home parents and retired adults who live out their calling.
There are two callings. We are all called to repentance and faith in Christ. That is God's first call. And then we are all called to serve in the world, using the gifts God has given us. That's what I want us to think about right now.
The Bible portrays different views of work. Work can be a blessing. In Genesis 2:15, it says that the man was put in the garden to till it and keep it. Work was part of God's intention for humanity in creation. Psalm 128:2 says "You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you." Proverbs 12:14 tells us that "labor has its reward." Meaningful, fruitful work can be a blessing.
But then work can also be a curse. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden, God said to Adam, "Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life...By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken." Ecclesiastes speaks of all of our labor as being in vain.
Whether our work is a curse or a blessing perhaps has something to do with this idea of vocation. If you have found your calling, you are blessed. If you are doing work that is absolutely not your work to do, it may be a curse.
How do you know if it is your calling? Dan Pryor says that "when you find yourself in the middle of something and have lost all sense of time, and you are doing good work, and your energy is high, and your mind is sharp, and you are having the time of your life, and the moment feels magic--maybe even holy--you're close!" Work won't always be that wonderful, but if you never feel anything like that, it's probably not your calling. But if you love doing it and it needs to be done, you are blessed.
Your vocation may be your job, or it may not. And we may have more than one calling. Being a parent may be your calling. It may be knitting. It may be music. It may be teaching. It may be woodworking. It may be writing letters. It may be raising vegetables or growing flowers. It may be making cabinets or solving problems or organizing people or caring for children.
Frederick Buechner says that one's vocation is the point where "your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." Find what you love to do that needs doing, and you have found your vocation. If you love your job, but your job is running drugs, you haven't found it. Your job may be as a social worker--it may be a job the world needs done--but if you hate it, you have not only missed your calling, and you are probably doing a lousy job.
Finding your vocation has to do with being submissive to God. What kind of work do you do? If we have found our vocation, we can all say that we do God's work. Whether a pastor or a pilot or a plumber, if it is where God wants us, it is God's work.
What kind of work do you do? That question can be understood in another way. It can have do with the quality of one's work. What kind of work do you do? Good work? Excellent work? Shoddy work? Haphazard work?
Colossians 3 is not an essay on work. But it speaks of Christian living and certainly applies to how we conduct ourselves at work and how we do our work. "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
I'm a son; a husband, father and grandfather. I'm a Pastor … I love my work!
Make Today Count,