When Jesus redeemed it all, did that include our work? Here is an excerpt from Do Meaningful Work: Participant's Guide.
Why don’t we talk about work more in church? Many of us don’t like to discuss work – it’s something we get through to pay the bills. When we find opportunity to serve Jesus, it is in our marriages, parenting, volunteerism, and work with the church. If we do find a relationship between work and faith, it’s typically a pitch for workplace evangelism, as if that’s all viewing our work as ministry is.
What if I told you that’s a lie? The place where you spend the majority of your waking hours is not just meant to be a place where you ‘get through it’ or evangelize (although evangelization is very important!)
In Colossians 3:23, God teaches us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not human masters…”
Our work is meant to be meaningful. We are defining meaningful as intention, purpose, aim, significance, and with reference to a future act. We are projecting what it is God is calling us to do in our work so it gains meaning in the fact that it originates with God, not our own intention, purpose, aim, significance, or future act. We were made in His image to have dominion over the Earth (Genesis 1:26), to “work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15)
That breath of life that He placed into us? That was intentional. In fact, work was perfect until sin entered the picture. After Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they were each cursed and Adam’s curse was all around work becoming laborious and tough:
“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil will you eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow will you 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,” (emphasis my own) (Genesis 3:18-19).
That thing we were created to manage and work? It was cursed. Work became hard. And we still accept work as being hard, but that’s a lie from the pits of Hell.
Jesus redeemed work. Work is redeemed. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus is called the second Adam because He paid the price for sin on the cross as well as the consequence of sin – including this curse on work.
Work is no longer to be laborious. Yes, it is work because of the energy we exude, but it is not meant to be cursed and something we just have to get through.
In fact, Jesus has crafted you with a unique bent to your own arrow to do your meaningful work.
Might I offer that, instead of work being hard and the only way to bring Jesus in is through evangelism, that work is actually worship and our best evangelism is through living as a sacrifice? The tool Paul urges us to give as holy and pleasing to God in Romans 12:1 – our body – is the exact tool we use to work. We are dead to sin and alive in Christ (Romans 6:8) and to offer our entire selves as alive and an instrument of righteousness (Romans 6:13).
I want to encourage you that you aren’t only to see Jesus in your home, church, and relationships. You are to see Jesus in your work, whether at a 9-5, entrepreneurship, ministry, or homemaking. Whatever your target is for this season, Jesus has anointed and appointed you to that duty for such a time as this. You were created to complete meaningful work that glorifies God by the grace, excellence, humility, and fruit of the Spirit that you showcase.
When you operate in work redeemed, you will look different, and it may be the best way to get others to ask you about what’s changed. What a testimony that would be, to share with others that work is redeemed just like our homes, communities, and most importantly, our souls.