Does your work define you? and should it?

Today is Labor Day in the U.S. and a time when many will wrap up the Summer with final burgers on the grill, boats in the lake and rest away from the workplace. It’s one of the few Mondays that aren’t begun by the dreaded alarm and the dash for coffee by half zombie/half humans dragging feet as another long work week commences. We are thankful for the day off and all, but my history is a little fuzzy, why did Labor day even begin?

Labor Day in the United States is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country. … It is recognized as a federal holiday.—according to Wikipedia

I had recently been spending time considering why we work and what does God think of it. I picked up Every Good Endeavor by Timothy Keller from the library, soooo good ya’ll. Keller wrote the book in three parts; God’s Plan for Work, Our Problems with Work, and The Gospel and Work. Here we are again with the re-stating the beautiful way of looking at God’s intention in creation, how sin messed it up and how God redeems it back. (I recently heard this beautiful phrase from Hunter Beless on Journey Women podcast of how we can look at anything in life and consider Creation’s Intent; God’s initial plan and purpose, the Fall; how the world and man became broken, and Redeeming and Restoring; how God is fixing and desires to repair the broken. A great recapping from Colossians 1)

Keller’s book clarified for me that work didn’t come to Adam and Eve in the garden after the Fall it was before. God made humans and put them in the garden to work it and keep it. The greatest command is to love God and the second greatest is to love our neighbor as ourselves, we love our neighbor in serving them with the work we do. Dinner wouldn’t appear on the table without the farmer caring for the land, without the truck driver delivering produce to the store, or without the retailer trading dollar bills for lettuce leaves. God made work within the wonderful confines of rhythms of work and rest in balance. Sin and man have jacked it all up with harsh words from bosses, idolizing success and the pursuit of money choking us of life’s joys, and the sneaky deceit of finding our identity in anything outside of simply being made in the image of God.

God redeems work in allowing us to join him in serving those around us. We get to use our gifts, our creative skills, our talents, and our hands to join him in the ways He wants to provide for his kiddos. God redeems and restores our work in reminding us that our worth is not found in climbing the corporate ladder. God redeems our work in calling us to do it with all our heart as if serving the Lord and not our earthly boss or masters.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, Colossians 3

God restores us in teaching us by his example of Sabbath rest to reflect on our work and to look for the good satisfaction in brings in a job well done. We aren’t meant to work seven days a week. We aren’t meant to let thistles and thorns choke out our purpose. We were created to work in rhythms of rest by the good Shepherd who guides us and leads us by his example, “For I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Praying that you rest from work today. Praying that you reflect on the good God is using you in your work to serve others, to bring an answer to their daily needs and adding beauty to life with our neighbors. Praying that God teach us how to walk in working and resting well as His sweet grace is so consistent to bring us from Creation to Fall to Redemption to Restoration. How has God been good to you in your work? What has He redeemed that felt broken and messed up in your work life?

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