Most people who have been in the workforce for any length of time can think back to at least one job they didn’t enjoy. I had my least favorite job while I was in high school, working in a fast-food joint at a short-lived amusement park. They opened the park before it was ready, trying to cash in on the Disney World crush just down the road. Nothing worked. In lieu of a functioning grill, the burgers were boiled in a gravy-like substance; with no working cash registers, we “rang up” orders with pad and pencil. (Calculators were luxury items at the time.) Try adding up a family-sized order, including tax, on a piece of paper while an angry customer loudly complains about his soggy, gravy-soaked bun. It’s the only job I ever quit.
Some are of the mistaken impression that work is God’s punishment, and that job certainly seemed like it. After all, Genesis 3:19 says, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food” (NIV). But that view forgets that before the fall, Adam and Eve’s job was to care for and tend the garden (Genesis 2:15)—not as punishment, but as the work God had given them. As much as we might sometimes complain about our jobs, it’s important to remember that work is a blessing.
God is the ultimate worker. Creating and sustaining are part of His nature:
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done” (Genesis 2:2-3 NIV).
“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17 NIV).
And in being creators and sustainers ourselves, we partake in God’s image:
“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:17 NIV).
“Do you see a man skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank” (Proverbs 22:29 NIV).
Being out of work, aside from the obvious fiscal problems that result, is damaging to our nature. We need to be doing some kind of work, to be a creator or sustainer. You can mow lawns, balance the books, or balance the tires. It doesn’t matter what; honest work honors God. (Studying for useful work, whether in college or trade school, is also honorable.)
As we celebrate Labor Day, thank God for the useful work you have to do. Pray for and help those who are without work. And the next time you want to complain about your job, stop to remember that you should, in fact, thank God for having one.
Dr. Stanley shares how God wants to bless us through our jobs in his article, “How Can I Find Fulfillment in My Work.”