Summary: Christians should enjoy their work, not endure it.
Would you believe that most Filipinos are satisfied with their work?
That is, if we believe the survey released last April by the SWS or the Social Weather Stations. A sampling of 1,200 persons nationwide revealed that our “job satisfaction is quite high, with 88% of all working adults saying they are satisfied with their main job.” Only 7% of the respondents said they are not satisfied with their jobs.
That is, if we accept that 1,200 people can speak for the entire nation.
Do you agree with this SWS survey? Would you really rate yourself as satisfied with your work?
Personally, I can’t reconcile that with the report that about 2,500 Filipinos leave the country everyday to work abroad. If Filipinos are satisfied, why do they leave the country to work overseas?
But, it is a fact that we spend majority of our lives working. We actually spend up to 70% of our waking hours at work. That’s why it’s important that we enjoy our work rather than endure it.
The Bible gives us the answer. Let’s read Colossians 3:22-4:1 together…
"Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism. Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven." (New International Version)
How do these verses relate to work? Don’t think of slaves as people performing menial jobs only like building the pyramid. The slaves during those times were doctors, bankers, engineers and other professionals.
That’s why we believe there are principles from these verses that apply to us in the 21st century. The masters represent the employers and the slaves represent the employees.
Note that it says in verse 23: “work at it with all your heart”. In another translation it says: “let your hearts be in your work”.
First, WE ARE CALLED TO ENJOY WORK.
Is there anything to work other than the pay? Are we doomed to be frustrated at work? Or is it possible to find fulfillment at all? We are called to enjoy work.
When we enjoy work, we will work at it with all our heart. Our heart will be in our work. And how do we know if we enjoy our work? We excel at work.
Jack Nicklaus, one of the best golfers in the world, said: “I firmly believe that people only do their best at things they truly enjoy. It is difficult to excel at something you don’t enjoy.”
One of the reasons why we don’t enjoy work is we look at it from a wrong point of view. We look at it as a curse. For some of us it is a burden instead of a blessing. Was work a curse from God?
It is written in Genesis 1:28—“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
We usually think that the only command here was “Go and multiply!” But God also commanded the first man and woman to subdue the earth and rule over everything on earth. That to me was a job description. Even before the curse, there was work. Work was and still is God’s blessing to man. It was not part of the curse.
God even tasked Adam to “work [the Garden of Eden] and take care of it.” God intended for us to work. That was our original design.
When man sinned, the curse was the struggle to earn a living. In Genesis 3:17-19 it says: “And so, the ground will be under a curse because of what you did. As long as you live, you will have to struggle to grow enough food. Your food will be plants, but the ground will produce thorns and thistles. You will have to sweat to earn a living”. (The Message)
Work was supposed to be for our satisfaction. Now it is for survival. Before, work was fulfilling. Now, it became frustrating.
But the original design was not changed. Ecclesiastes 3:22 says: “We were meant to enjoy our work, and that’s the best thing we can do.” (Contemporary English Version) Your work situation may not be ideal. But we are to enjoy work. It is our calling.