Thursday, September 15, 2016

Work is a blessing, not a curse

In our Young Adults ministry we just started a new series called "Work Matters". In this series we're looking at how important our work is. Work should be a blessing but far too many people consider it a curse. In fact, most Christians think that work is a result of the fall but look at Genesis 1

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
In the very beginning God created mankind in His image and tasked them with ruling over what He had created. The crown of God’s creation is you! Humans are created in God’s image and tasked with ruling over what God created. The Hebrew word for rule is וְיִרְדּוּ֩ (yir-dū) meaning to rule or tread or have dominion over. After the whole created order is almost finished God creates human beings, He creates them in His image and then passes the responsibility of caring for all the animals over to them. What a privilege! God has spent almost six full days of creating and then passes the responsibility over to us; how He trusts us.

The the Bible moves into what is almost Hebraic poetry in verse 27. There is a repetition of verse 26 here about God creating man but no repetition of the need for men and women to take care of the created order. We move into verse 28 and get to the first blessing in the Bible. The first blessing is to procreate, subdue the earth and rule over it. We see the Hebrew word for rule again in this verse but there is another word. This time we’re commanded to subdue the earth. The word subdue is the Hebrew word וְכִבְשֻׁ֑הָ (kib-su) meaning to subdue or bring into bondage. But when you study the word it’s not a command to rule/subdue with a heavy fist.

When we look at what the original language shares we find that the work of ruling and subduing the earth should be one of a blessing and done with a caring demeanor. It’s a role to care for what God has created and to tend to the created order. Essentially our work should be a blessing not a curse. How come its far too often the other way around? How come the work you do seems to be a curse in your life and not a blessing?

Did you know that over half the people in America aren’t satisfied with their work? In an article Susan Adams wrote for Forbes about two years ago she lays out some stats on job dissatisfaction. 52.3% of Americans are not satisfied with their job. This percentage has been slowly increasing ever since 1987.
The main factors are that contribute to job satisfaction are: experience, including job security, wages, promotion policy, vacation policy, sick leave, health plan and retirement plan. She also lays out that those who make over $125K are more satisfied than those make $50-75K (I feel like I could have told her that). One final stat she laid out that is interesting is that men are more satisfied in their job than women. She doesn’t provide much detail in to that stat, making it tough for us to analyze more.

When I think back to my first job I can totally remember it being a curse. Many of you know I grew up in the mountains of Big Bear Lake down in So Cal. When I was about 14 or 15 I would do odd jobs for people to help make money. I would go to people who had second homes, or vacation homes, and help them out in the summer months and winter months. In the summer I would do yard work; planting flowers, raking pine needles, or trimming bushes. It was hard work. I would come home sore, sweaty and bruised from the labor. Then in the winter I go around after snow storms and shovel people’s driveways. It was hard labor and I felt like I never was paid enough for how hard the work was.

What as your first job like? Was it a blessing or a curse? Did you enjoy the labor or was it detestable to you. How about your current job? Do you enjoy the work you preform? Is it tough but you find it enjoyable? It might be hard work but when you really think about it, the work is enjoyable. Maybe you enjoy your job for the work but the people you work with make it even better! You’re on a great team and you look forward to being with them. Maybe it’s the opposite. Maybe you love your work but not so much the people who you work with. You could find a colleague to be a challenge to be around or a lazy person!

No matter what your feelings are to work, the work you do matters! Another way to say it is, the work I do matters; make it personal. The job you preform matters to God. It’s your Biblical mandate. It’s a command in Scripture that you are to work and it’s also a blessing to God. You might have thought that work is a curse but it was never meant to be a curse. Hopefully studying these first couple verses helps you understand the plan God has for your life and the 1/3 of your life that is spent on work.

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