It’s a Saturday afternoon and I have the day off. I’m relaxing on my deck breathing in the local evidence of life around me. This is a rare treat. Most Saturdays I’m at my job. Weekend shifts come with the territory of my line of work. It can be pure drudgery to crawl out of my cozy bed on a Saturday morning. It just seems to be the hardest day to go to work. Anyone employed at a service or agency that is open 24-7 encounters similar weekend work woes.
Perhaps you experience this same dread on certain days? Mondays for instance? Maybe every day? Could it be that we need to change our perspective about work and what it means in our lives?
My father worked outside the home since he was eleven years old. He lived through the depression era and he had to work to help the family survive. His belief about work included a lot of manual labor and sweat. Anything less in his mind was not real work and looked like laziness to him. My father has been gone since 1987 but his ideas about work continue to haunt me. By God’s amazing grace I have learned that work is so much more than what I grew up believing and fearing.
God gave us the first great example of work when HE Himself labored to create our world. In six glorious days HE created all we see and experience in it’s purest and most beautiful form. HE looked at all HE had done and declared it was very good. (See Genesis 1:31)
In Genesis 1:27a it says, “So GOD created human beings in HIS own image. . . ” New Living translation. This means we are a snapshot, a picture of God. We reflect HIS aptitudes such as creativity, spirituality, communication, intellect, relationality, morality and purpose.
For FLURISHING in our work let’s consider this first aptitude of creativity. Our GOD is the ultimate Creator and if we are a reflection of HIM then we are creators too. Think about it. Each of us has some form of creative bent; Writers write, Musicians play, Chefs make delicious food, Painters create works of art, Crafters create homespun creations. We all have creativity to use for work, what we were gifted for by our Creator. Consider the men God gifted in Exodus 31:1-6.
Some of us discover these gifts early on and enjoy financial benefit from doing what we love. Others of us are late bloomers and have to use our creativity in a more vocational or hobby type way. For this second group of which I am a part, I can empathize being in a work situation that may not be suited to your gifts but suited more to your budget. If this is the situation you find yourself in I have a few suggestions for you:
DO NOT GIVE UP ON YOUR CREATIVITY!
It is one of your gifts from God and you will never be able to FLURISH until you find an outlet to express it. Even if it is a weekend past time, keep at it. You never know what door HE will open for you when the time is right and you seek His blessing on your special creative efforts.
FIGHT ANY NEGATIVE THOUGHTS ABOUT YOUR JOB!
Follow the Apostle Paul’s counsel in his letter to the people in the church at Philippi.
“. . . Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely and admirable. . .” Philippians 4:8b New Living translation.
Make a list about good or right things about your job. Do you have favorable hours? Good pay? Clean working conditions? Nice commute? Pleasant co-workers? Decent benefits? Everyone has something positive to focus on regarding your job if you look hard enough. I was thankful for a private bathroom on my job. May seem silly to some but I was grateful. Find something positive about your job to focus your attention, even a bathroom situation. “Giving thanks always and for EVERYTHING to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20 English Standard version
It’s possible your job is painful because it is a wrong fit for your gifts for this specific time in your life. Pray and seek God’s leading. Maybe it’s time for you to seek work elsewhere and/or develop your creativity further. Partner with God in this endeavor. Talk to Him daily until you find His path for you.
The job you currently have may not be your dream job but God is using it to help you thrive in a world that runs on money. Be grateful that He has provided the strength and health to earn the money you need to live. It is a privilege to work and be in charge of your own decisions rather than be controlled by someone who cares nothing for you.
LASTLY, DO YOUR WORK, WHATEVER IT IS, TO THE GLORY OF GOD!
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23 New Living translation
Ultimately, we are working for our Lord. Doing a good job with the right attitude brings Him pleasure and glory. In the end we feel better about ourselves for doing our best. Ask Him for grace for the right attitude. It doesn’t come naturally to us humans. He is with us to help us, remember? But we must ask for His help each time we need it. Keeps us humble and that’s a very good thing.
So work, create and FLURISH while working!