Read just a bit into the Bible and you'll see work itself isn't a curse. In the perfect paradise as described in the book of Genesis God invites man to use his brawn. "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." (Gen. 2:15) Next, God invites man to use his brains. "And whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name." (2:19) And when God creates woman from man, He makes her attractive, a mother, a "bone of my bones." but God also makes Eve as "helper." She's Adam's business partner and joins the first family business. (And get this: they even got to work naked! "The man and his wife were both naked and felt no shame." (2:25) They didn't even have to wear a t-shirt with the slogan!.. OK, that was a distraction, wasn't it?)
Yet today, work feels more like a curse to the majority of people. It's not life-giving and enjoyable. It doesn't ring of paradise, but of paradise lost. Roughly 80% of workers don't feel like they're working in dream job or on a dream team, but instead in enduring the job. Or draining job. Or drudgery job. Or dead-end job.
Genesis 3 describes the beginning of this messed up status quo we now see affecting the workplace. Work that should be life-giving and enjoyable has tragically become tainted and tarnished. As the first family chose to break relationship with God, they wrecked work as well. "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you... by the sweat of your brow you will eat of your food." (Gen. 3:17. 18)
So, is that it? Is the world of work just ruined and we should just put our heads down and do what we can until retirement? Just accept our thorns and thistles? OR is there hope? Is it possible to still enjoy work. Do meaningful and productive work? Do purposeful work? Reverse the curse of work?
As I study the Bible looking for answers that work for work, I see a path towards a healing of the hole in our souls created by disappointing, frustrating of unproductive work. The message of the Bible is that there is a redeemer and a redemption. There's hope for what's in ruins and a restoration of life from death.
I see five things we working types can do to reverse the curse at work. Here they are:
1. Seek First the Kingdom of God: There's nothing more valuable and more important than seeking an authentic relationship with the One who made us and gave us the ability to work. It's in relationship with God that all else makes sense andllife has lasting purpose. And God, and His Kingdom are present in our work and in our workplace. Do you see God where you work?
2. Spend Yourself on Behalf of the Poor and the Oppressed: The prophet Isaiah wrote that when we satisfy the needs of the oppressed, " Your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday....The Lord will guide you always and will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land." (Isaiah 58:10, 11) Work done to bring food to the hungry, health to the sick and justice to the oppressed brings deep and lasting satisfaction. (Or create excellent products, enable them to communicate, invest money wisely, enjoy a good meal, etc...) Of course we still need profits, www.JeffCaliguire.com
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