Created to Work (Newsletter 5-3)

by Kristin Keller

THE ORIGIN OF OUR knowledge of God is seeing Him at work for six days. On the seventh day, He rested. But even in His rest, God was still sustaining galaxies, the living creatures that inhabited the Earth, and Adam and Eve in the Garden.

Life did not end when God rested. Purpose for man’s existence still remained. Man was created to work (Genesis 2:15). Work was the first thing God instituted in the Garden. Work came before the Fall. It was a priority in the original blueprint for mankind. Humanity was created with this innate desire to work, to fulfill a greater purpose than mere existence.

We must keep at the forefront of our work ethic God’s eternal purpose, not our temporary desires. Colossians 3:23-24 (NKJV) says, “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Whether you are a teacher investing in the next generation, a barista serving a latte to a customer, one who scans a customer’s groceries, a tradesman building a home, or a county clerk keeping records, we all have a personal mission attached to our craft—and that is being a servant to those we work alongside, be it our customers, our community, or our boss. We serve others first.

It matters how we serve.

The reality is that we live in a fallen world. Work environments are not always healthy. In fact, sometimes we find ourselves disliking our job and our responsibilities. Yet we are still admonished to give our very best. How we serve, even in the mundane tasks, even with coworkers who mistreat us, even with a boss who has yet to acknowledge our abilities, is significant. Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NKJV), says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.” Could it be that joy in the workplace is lying dormant because of our attitude and response to the environment in which we find ourselves immersed? You could potentially be the key that unlocks the kingdom of God in your place of work.

It matters why we serve.

It is vital to take inventory as to what motivates us. Is it creating a lasting impact in the lives of those around us, or is it taking control of our own futures? Personal gain or eternal reward? Matthew 6:24 (NKJV) says, “You cannot serve God and mammon,” meaning, you cannot serve God and serve money. First Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV), says, “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” No matter our field of work, all that we do should be for His glory, not personal achievement, not riches, and not status. Colossians 3:17 (NKJV), says, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Having a grateful heart will help keep our motives aligned to His desires and the god of self from conducting a hostile takeover of our lives and our futures.

It matters who we serve.

The first part of Matthew 6:24 (NKJV) says, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.” What if we shifted our mindset regarding our place of work and looked at it as holy ground? What if we dared to believe God could work through us to reach those around us? I dare say work life would then become a true pursuit of happiness. There is unspeakable joy found in being in the center of His will.

Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV) says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” At the very least, it is our reasonable service to present ourselves to the world with the very best we can possibly give. Research tells us that a job can help fight feelings of depression, bring about a sense of purpose, and bring self-fulfillment, but I believe a job goes far beyond the purpose of just making us feel good about
ourselves. A job strategically positions us in the world with a daily mission to be a reflection of Jesus Christ to every single person in our particular mission field.

Personal Sabbaths are important.

However, in addition to work, the Bible speaks of a time to rest. There is power found in rest. Truth be told, we could all use some down time from the busyness of life to refresh our spirits and restore our passion. But as modeled in the creation story, when God rested, He was still sustaining. Even though we don’t read about it on day seven, God still kept the galaxies in place, the waves continuously rolling against the shores, the sun and moon in rotation, the stars illuminating, the animals feeding, and humanity breathing. Could this have foreshadowed the idea that although we might not be physically working after completing a forty-hour work week, we must continue to be about His business?
Over the next few moments, I invite you to take inventory of your work life. The first step is always identifying the gaps, and the next step is to ask God to help you fill the gaps His way. PL

Hyphen Director I Youth Ministries I UPCI