Work is among God’s commandments

Published 1:07 am Saturday, September 8, 2012

There’s a funny bumper sticker I’ve seen on vehicles from time to time. It’s a play on words from a Disney movie that says, “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.”

Sounds like the person driving that vehicle has got to go to work to make a living, whether or not he or she feels like going to work. Then there are 23 million Americans who have been unemployed for a long time who would just like to find a job so they get to go to work.

Why is work an important part of our lives? Of course, we work to earn a wage to provide for our families. But it’s more than a livelihood. We spend most of our lives on the job.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 47 percent of our waking hours are spent at work, compared to 4 percent on personal care, 5 percent shopping, 7 percent eating, 11 percent watching TV, 5 percent social activities, 8 percent leisure, 12 percent with family, and 1percent attending church or volunteering.

Work was one of God’s first commands to mankind. In the beginning, “The Lord God took man and put him in the Garden of Eden to till it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15).

Chuck Colson wrote, “In the opening chapters of Genesis, we learn that human beings are made in the image of God, to reflect His character; therefore, we are called to reflect His creative activity through our own creativity – by cultivating the world, drawing out its potential, and giving it shape and form. All work has dignity as an expression of the divine image.”

Recently, I listened to an online study on what the Bible says about work. I learned that 75 percent of the Bible’s heroes had workplace jobs. Look at the life of Jesus. He spent 90 percent of His life in a small business as a carpenter. Some 45 of 52 parables that Jesus told have a workplace context.

English novelist Dorothy Sayers once said, “Work is the natural exercise and function of man….Work is not primarily a thing one does to live, but the full expression of the worker’s faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental, and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God.”

The Apostle Paul put it this way, “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23). It’s been said that it’s not the hours you put into your work that counts; it’s the work you put in the hours. Work “can and should be as much an act of worship as Sunday praise. Good work well done is a glory to God and a blessing to the world,” according to a speaker during the online study.

Consider the following quote, “It’s not by doing the things we like, but by liking the things we do that we can discover life’s blessings.” Charles Kingsley reminds us to, “Thank God every morning when you get up that you have something to do that day which must be done.”