Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | August 10, 2012

Your Work and Christianity, by David Bower

A Huge Block of Time

For most of us our employment either is or has taken a huge amount of our time; we have spent most of our waking hours working. What does this mean to us as Christian individuals and is this Biblical?

For one thing we know from the Bible that work was always intended to be a part of life; all we need to do is turn to Genesis 1:26, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

If we were intended to rule over God’s creation our rule would naturally entail our responsibility for it. I recall an old adage that I heard in the United States Navy, “Rank hath its privileges but rank hath its responsibilities.” Rule and responsibility are two sides of the same coin.

Then again in Genesis 2:15 it is written, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Even in the beauty of the Garden of Eden man was expected to work and was given a job to do. After the fall God told Adam in Genesis 3:19, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

As many of you will recall, I have mentioned before my conviction that we will have work to do and jobs assigned to us in eternity. The new heaven and the new earth will not be a place where we just lounge about on clouds playing harps. I delight in the thought that the Lord will have the perfect work for me to do and I will be able to work for Him with joy and fulfillment totally free of my old sin nature. This is an exciting and wonderful prospect for me to consider and I eagerly look forward to it.

I also firmly believe that I will be delighted with the work our Lord has given me regardless of how lofty or how lowly it may be. Whether I till the ground and care for the animals or rule over peoples, nations, and planets I will, in either case, be filled with joy and gratitude for the opportunities the Lord has given to me to serve Him. Such is one of the many blessings of being free of sin!

Meanwhile, Back on Earth

As you can tell from the above I’m convinced we will have a busy and productive eternity with our Lord. But that is yet to come so what about now, you may ask. I believe the Bible speaks in several places about our responsibilities to work during our mortal lifetimes. In 1 Timothy 5:8 we read, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” In Galatians 6:4-5 we read, “Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.” In 2 Thessalonians 3:11-12 we read, “We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.”

Paul set the standard in his life as an Apostle of the Lord and describes his work ethic where in Acts 20:33-34 we read, “I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions.”

Much has been written as succeeding generations have speculated why Paul did this; it is nevertheless a clear indication of the principle of work as the recognized way of providing for oneself during our mortal lives on this planet.

Does Our Work Define Us as Individuals?

The Bible makes it clear that work is to be a part of our lives, but does our work define us as individuals? I believe the answer to that is no, it does not. Whereas work is essential to living, work is only a means to an end, not the end itself.

We are so much more than our work and should not even think in terms of our work as the basis for determining who are what we are. We should not live to work, but work to live as is often quoted.

One hears stories of men who have reluctantly retired from a long career and then died a few months after their retirement. It was as if their career and their work was their identity and once lost, removed their reasons to even live. That is truly a sad and distorted perspective on life and living and one to be avoided.

When I announced my planned retirement from the company for which I had worked 36 years there were those who doubted that I would ever retire as “the building business is David’s life” it was said. Well fortunately that was not true; although I appreciated the evident compliment to my work ethic, my job had never been my life.

I have been retired now since September of 2004 and I can assure you my days are filled with work I love. I am active as an online missionary and write this blog; between those two activities I am able to consume many hours out of each day and I am having a ball. In addition to that I am the IT guy for our family, enjoy my home theater system, love to read and work out at the gym with a personal trainer three times a week. My wife and I are greatly enjoying my retirement.

How About You?

When someone asks you, “What do you do?” what is your answer? If you’re like most of us you answer something about your work; that’s sort of a conditioned reflex as we know the type of answer expected. It’s interesting to note that Paul never started his letters identifying himself as a tentmaker even though that was how he supported himself. Paul’s identity was as an Apostle of Christ; he was a tentmaker in order to support his ministry.

What is important in all of this is how do you think about yourself? As you can gather from my comments I believe it is important for you to see the ramifications of the spiritual realities that are already at work in your life. While your job is important and necessary it most certainly does not define you. You are much more than your job; your job is both temporal and temporary whereas you are eternal.

You are a child of the eternal Creator God who loves you more than you can even begin to imagine. You are also a temple of God the Holy Spirit, a royal priest after the order of Melchizedek, an ambassador of Christ, and a part of God’s family who will judge the angels.

It’s kind of fun to imagine the confusion it would create if you answered the question, “What do you do?” with I am a royal priest after the order of Melchizedek. Since these are eternal, spiritual truths we must now ask ourselves, do we live the life that reflects the spiritual reality of who we really are?

That is similar to the question; if you were charged with being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? While we have the chance, let us litter our lives with evidence.


Responses

  1. WOW! What great last question! I wonder how many of , us would be found guilty as charged?
    Great posting, Mr. Bower!

    Like

    • Phil:
      Thanks for reading my blog and taking the time to comment; I really appreciate it!
      David

      Like


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