Summary: Like everything else in life… God wants to redeem our relationship to our work.
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We’re continuing our series focused on Integrating Spirituality into Everyday Life… a journey
into discovering the spiritual significance of the various aspects and activities that we are involved
with throughout our daily lives. Last week… Living Spaces… where we tend to begin and end
our day. Today… WORKPLACE – where many of us spend most of our day.
This may involve very different contexts for each of us… from retail to real estate to
recreation, mechanical to medical, service to sales, entertainment to education, … house
building to homemaking… as well as home businesses.
> For those unemployed… it can be a part of one’s pursuit and future; for those retired, it’s a
major part of one’s life experience and investment.
Work, whether in its presence or absence, is a pervasive part of everyday life…usually the
focus of 40 to 50% of our waking hours… more hours than any other one activity in our
It’s not only central in terms of our time but also in terms of how we view ourselves…and
feel about ourselves.
• One of the first things we want to know about people is what they do.
• A person’s passing is often noted in terms of their workplace achievements.
> Work and worth, industry and identity, are very closely related in contemporary culture.
This leads to the dilemma of work
There are two forces at work regarding our work… neither of which we stop to think about or
Two ways we often relate to work:
We experience our work as DEFINING… and it’s given a dominating role…
and consumes spiritual life.
We experience our work as DEGRADING… and it’s given a negative
role…that conflicts with spiritual life.
The first force is one in which work dominates our identity… it sees work as offering itself as
the validating source of life…our means to accomplish something of meaning… and as such…
it can become CONSUMING and CONTROLLING of our spiritual life. The natural corollary is
to experience work as degrading and tends to negate work… we see work as merely a
necessary evil… something that CONFLICTS with spiritual life.
Like everything else in life… God wants to redeem our relationship to our work.
Let’s quickly consider a spiritual perspective… and then some of the spiritual potential.
I. Restoring Spiritual Perspective of our Work
"The Bible begins with the announcement, ’In the beginning God created . . . ’ - not ’sat
majestic in the heavens’. He created. He did something. He made something. He fashioned
heaven and earth. The week of creation was a week of work."
> In the Beginning . . . was work.
In Genesis 2. We find man in the Garden of Eden, man in paradise. And in
Genesis 2:15, we read this, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden
to work it and take care of it.”
What we discover is that work is not the result of the Fall, that man in paradise wasn’t living in a
state of glorious inactivity. Paradise was not a perpetual vacation. Work was created before the
Fall. It was a gift.
There is no basis for a dividing of spiritual and secular. God’s commission to Adam and Eve to
be stewards of his creation is not a second-rate call. I doubt that Adam thought "Oh, bummer - I
really want a more significant role, God. I wanted to be a priest, not a farmer! I mean, isn’t there a
more spiritual task I could do?"
And because work was created by God, being a worker is part of our created design. Just think,
God himself is a worker.
Jesus says in
John 5:17, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”
Part of our bearing the image of God is our ability to work. And that is why unemployment,
or underemployment is so painful. There is something fundamental to our created design as
human beings that we get the opportunity to work.
And do you know that work is such a fundamental part of this universe that you don’t get
done working even in the new heavens and the new earth? I don’t know what your view of
eternity is. For many people, it is an endless choir where all we do is sing all day. And for those
of us who don’t have particularly good voices, if singing was all we did in heaven, we could turn it
> Far from being a bad thing… work is inherently good and dignifying part of life…… God
begins with work… shares it with us.
So how has work become defining and degrading?
What is often referred to as “The Fall”… where the very next chapter in Genesis describes