The average person will spend over 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. At age 40 (almost), I am around the halfway point! Let the countdown begin.
Work plays a substantial part of our life, but how does work fit into the Christian walk? First, we should start at the beginning. Right out of the gate we see that God is a God who works. Genesis 2:2 says, “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”
Our God is a God who works.
Jesus also touches on this in John 5:16-17 when He was being persecuted for healing on the Sabbath, “And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” We see that Jesus acknowledges that God the Father is a worker and He, as His Son, is a chip off the old block, for He is also a worker.
In fact, when reading the gospels, you can almost view Jesus as a workaholic; late nights, early mornings, catching sleep whenever and wherever you can (Mark 4:35-41). Make no mistake, Jesus was driven to do all that His father had commanded (John 14:31).
Our Savior is a Savior who works.
Likewise, as creatures, created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), we are also made to work. God tells Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Filling and subduing and having dominion are not words of passivity but activity. People are to be workers, just like their Creator. When we work, we are displaying the image of God.
In fact, this is how we should view work, with God at the forefront of our mind. The Apostle Paul writes in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” Our ultimate goal in our work is “for the Lord”, or to say it another way, “for His Glory.”
As disciples of Christ we are called to work.
The problem, of course, is sin. Because of sin, we do not desire to do what God commands. Instead of working, we would rather walk in idleness. This problem existed in the Church of the Thessalonians. People were not working with a purpose; they were “busybodies.” To be a busybody means to be active in a useless way. Christ does not call his people to be busybodies; he calls us to display the image of their Maker, to work as if for the Lord, to fill, to subdue, to have dominion for His Glory. Walking in idleness is a sin that we all struggle with at times, but we should not relish in our sin, we should repent of it.
All of us need to echo the words of the Apostle Paul, “For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.” (1 Thessalonians 2:9).