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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

03 Sep '12

The dignity and gift of productive work

Posted by T.J. Addington in work
It is not unusual to hear people complain about their work. Just listen to the conversation around you on a plane or even the overheard phone conversations from the individual sitting next to you in the airline club. Bosses we don't like, crazy staff situations, suppliers who didn't come through policies that irritate.

But how often do we see work as a gift from God? A gift that gives us the dignity of making a living, providing for our families and using our creative skills in a meaningful way. The very fact that God "worked" six days in creation and rested on the seventh day was an example to us that He created us for work. For all the difficulties of the workplace, just talk to someone who has lost their job and is desperate to find one and we begin to realize the dignity and gift of work.

Work also puts us into contact with a group of individuals that Jesus wants us to influence and touch with His love. If your workplace is dysfunctional - you have the opportunity to bring the gift of sanity and care. Everyone we work with struggles with the same common life issues allowing us to be Jesus to them in hard times. Unfortunately work is the one thing we don't hear about in messages today and yet it is integral to most of our lives. In ignoring it we have ignored a gift from God.

I heard the story of a grizzled vendor in a poor country who sat every day in the same place, selling his beads, talking to those who came by and interacting with his fellow vendors. One day a tourist came and asked if he could buy all his beads. The vendor said no. The puzzled tourist asked why he wouldn't want to sell his whole stock. The old man looked at him and said, "Look around here. See all my friends? If I sold you all my stock I would have nothing to do here. This is my life. I need some to sell later, and tomorrow and next week." He understood that work gave his life meaning and value and dignity was was not willing to give it up. For him, work was not a commodity but something that gave meaning to life.

We were created for work. At creation God told Adam and Eve to rule over creation and work the Garden he created for them. Work was never a curse but a blessing. It can be hard, challenging and people can be irritating. It also gives our lives rhythm and meaning, allowing us to use our God given gifts and skills. 

If you have work, consider thanking God for the gift today. For those of your friends who do not have the gift, pray that they will find meaninful work.