Work: One of God’s first commands to mankind

Published 7:30 am Sunday, September 4, 2022

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.”

It sounds like the person driving that vehicle must go to work to make a living whether or not he or she feels like going to work. For now, unemployment is low in Alabama (2.6%) and there are plenty of jobs. There have been years when people were unemployed for a long time and looking for a job so they could 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% of our waking hours are spent at work, compared to 4% on personal care, 5% shopping, 7% eating, 11% watching TV, 5% social activities, 8% leisure, 12% with family, and 1% 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 has written, “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.”

I once participated in a study of what the Bible says about work and I learned that 75% of the Bible’s heroes had workplace jobs. Look at the life of Jesus. He spent 90% of His life in a small business as a carpenter. Some 45 of 52 parables that Jesus told have a workplace context. One of the Ten Commandments instructs us to labor.

There’s an old saying about work, “God gives every bird its food but does not drop it into the nest.” Henry Ford commented that work “keeps me alive and makes life worth living.”

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.

Someone once said, “It’s not by doing the things we like, but by liking the things we do that we can discover life’s blessings.” If you are employed, be grateful to have a job.  And for those in need of a job, do not give up. A job opportunity may be just around the corner.

— Jan White has compiled a collection of her columns in her book, “Everyday Faith for Daily Life.”