Work Is Not a Four-Letter Word

I have a reputation for working hard. My clients know it, my friends know it, and my family certainly knows it. Raised in a low-frills environment, I was taught that if I wanted something, I worked for it. Growing our own vegetables, hunting, fishing and working multiple jobs were all part of day-to-day life. 
I took that work ethic with me as I went into college, from which I graduated early, figuring that if I were paying for up to 18 hours, I would get the most for my money by maxing out my course load. That required working up to three jobs at a time and getting very little sleep. Yet somehow I survived and even graduated with honors.
That work ethic followed me into my career as a writer and editor. My clients tease me about what a hard worker I am, though they continue to hire me for that very reason. And my family and friends often will chide me about how I need to slow down. But I struggle with slowing down when I have things to do.
Not everyone is wired like me. I am blessed with the Energizer Bunny’s endurance. More important, however, I am blessed with a good understanding of my purpose on this earth.
Many people have a misconception about work – that it is a product of the fall, part of the curse upon man. The biblical reality, however, is that we were created to work. Our need to be purposeful is hard-wired into us.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. – Genesis 1:26
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. – Genesis 2:15
Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. – Genesis 2:19-20
Before creating man, God wrote an imposing job description: Man’s title would be Planet Manager. (Can you imagine Adam, if simply offered the job, saying, “Wow! When can I start?”) Immediately upon creating Adam, God put him to work. There were animals to be named. There was a garden to care for. And delegation was out of the question. 
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10
I truly believe that when we become slack in our responsibilities, we begin to lose our way. We find ourselves filling that void in our lives with countless meaningless things, and that idleness becomes a breeding ground for sin. We hoard our time for selfish purposes. Relationships suffer. Ministries suffer. Worst of all, our effectiveness in God’s kingdom suffers.
Granted, we need balance in our lives. I confess that I struggle with that. Maybe having lost my family early in life has given me a heightened sense of my own mortality, so I endeavor to make the most of my time here. But work can become as much of an idol as anything else in our lives. That is why we must constantly view our efforts through the filter of God’s calling.
God expected Adam to serve Him and to serve his own family. He expects the same of us today. Are you honoring God with your efforts, and are you doing your best to meet the needs of your family? Or are you focusing on self – pursuing work for the sake of your own glory, or perhaps shirking your responsibilities for your own convenience and comfort?
Our notion of work is like anything else in our lives: We have a right attitude about it when we are rightly related to the One who has put it before us.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you as well. – Matthew 6:33
Work is not a four-letter word, my friends – at least not in the derogatory sense. Someday, if we finish well, we will hear our Savior say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” And that will be reward enough for all our labor pains.

2 thoughts on “Work Is Not a Four-Letter Word

  1. Hi Cheri…I want to post this on my wall. You are very gifted with your eloquent way of saying things. It would never come out of my mouth impressive as this or received well by my children because I don’t know how to speak in a way that doesn’t sound offensive…then, of course, when my kids are offended, I have always said you need to check your heart and see why you’re offended by whatever has been said…but I think I just may need to learn how to articulate my words better so it’s received with the love of Christ. Thanks for sharing this…

  2. Hey, Wanda! Thank you so much for your kind words. I always pray extensively before I post, and often the Lord will lead me to say something other than what I had planned. Yes, please feel free to share this! And feel free to let me know other areas I may address in terms of victory over adversity. Have a blessed day!