The Purpose of Work
In the late 1800s, Labour Day began in New York City with the Central Labour Union as a means to unify union workers and reduce the hours spent at work. It was more than a day off. It was the beginning of advocacy towards fewer hours in the workweek. As we reflect today we look to discuss the purpose of work and understand why God created it.
Why do we work? Is work a curse from God and a consequence of our sin? How does work fit into God’s overall plan for our lives?
Let's explore this topic together in today's devotional:
“Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” – Genesis 2:15 (NKJV)
Growing up in a family that had plenty but did not always steward it well, with a mother who worked very hard but did not demand the same of her children, my attitude towards work was a negative one. I viewed work as something that mean and unhappy adults used to punish children and take the joy out of their lives. I loved to play and have fun. Work always seemed to interfere with those objectives. In addition to seeing work as a punishment, I was also convinced that it was a curse. I thought that no loving God could or would ever impose work on children that He loved. In fact, in my mind, the one exciting aspect of becoming an adult was that I would finally be able to choose not to work and that no adult could force work upon me. However, that was many years ago, before my family faced a financial crisis that forced me to re-evaluate my life, my priorities, and my attitude, a crisis that caused me to finally reject the spirit of entitlement. Furthermore, that perspective was held long before I ever became a Christian and began to learn God’s original plan for work and the true joy of work.
For the entrepreneur, work is essential to build a profitable business. But unfortunately, so many entrepreneurs see work solely as a tool that enables them to accomplish their business objectives and get the most out of their employees. For employees, work is essential to receive a salary, but so many employees work just enough to earn only the salary they need. This attitude of work hinders our ability to experience the redemptive power of labour and the joy that it can bring into our lives. Work is not a curse and existed before sin (Genesis 2:15). The only impact that sin has had on work was that after sin, work became a condition for our provision; while before sin, work was purely an act of obedience to the Creator and a tool for worshiping Him (Genesis 3:17-19). Therefore, when we use work solely as a tool for provision, we are operating within the bounds of the law and are under the curse. However, when we see it as an act of obedience and a tool for worship, we can experience God’s original intention for work, which breaks the curse of the sin.
Work is an activity involving mental and physical efforts that are designed to serve others and express our gratitude to God. It is an act of worship to our God and an expression of our calling and gifting (Ephesians 2:10). Also, work is one of the ways we can demonstrate our love for God and others. Work does bring provision, but when we limit work to being only a tool for provision we are living under the law. It is when we work beyond provision that it becomes an act of worship that brings us under the power of grace.
In their book “Why Work? Called to Make a Difference,” Nancy and Howard Olsen state that “work is a gift God has given us. He has divinely appointed tasks for us – tasks that not only glorify Him but also satisfy our needs as well. God’s plan for work is a win-win situation.” Here are some of the benefits that work can bring to our lives:
- It allows us to express our purpose which is to worship our Creator
- It allows us to serve others
- It allows us to provide for our needs and the needs of others
- It builds our character
- It redeems us from the curse of the law
- It enables us to have so that we can give
- It is a source of fulfillment and a cure for depression
So, if work has so many benefits, why then do so many people not embrace it? They are either the way I was as a child, looking for a daddy who gives them everything and demanding nothing from them, which leads to the sin of entitlement, or they are not working as unto the Lord and are therefore unable to tap into the rest that Jesus promised.
“Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28-29 (NKJV)
My prayer for you today is that God will give you the wisdom to align your work with His will so that you may experience the joy and satisfaction that work can bring.
Enrol in our entrepreneurship course and learn how to do business God’s way – click here
Copyright © NPIM
Question: As an entrepreneur, how are you getting this message across to your employees?