Work: Mere Punishment or Is There More?

May 3, 2021 | Articles, Living in the World, Work

By Amber Kinloch

The Great Mistake

There’s a common tendency among people today to compartmentalize the different parts of their life.  Work is a classic example of this.  Five days a week, we haul ourselves out of bed to our computer or the office.  Come the weekend, we go, “Whoopee!”  Work is cast aside as we immerse ourselves in recreational activities (which, incidentally, all too often do not rest or nourish us).

Loving your work and doing it for a higher purpose beyond a paycheck?  That’s a foreign concept to lots of people.  Too many work solely for money.  They’re concerned about hoarding away cash to go on vacation, fill up their retirement account, or pay for college for their kids.  Not that these are bad things in and of themselves, but there’s so much more to work than earning money.

Work Isn’t a Mere Necessity

Let’s cast our minds back to Genesis.  After God creates Adam, it’s written: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it” (Gen 2:15).  Note the timing.  Work is a duty imposed upon man before the Fall.  God didn’t just plop Adam down in the middle of Paradise to wander about and do nothing.  He put him there for a purpose.

Conclusion: Work is an intrinsically good thing, although it’s difficult now as a result of Original Sin.

But It’s Not Just a Duty

It’s a gift.

Think about it.  God’s creation of the world is described as work (Gen 2:2-3).  Then he creates man in His image and likeness (Gen 1:27) and commands him to work.  That is, He wants man to imitate Him.  And He’s God!  He’s all-powerful.  He can do anything He pleases.  Yet He desires for us to participate in His creative work.  How can we consider it anything but an honor and a source of dignity to follow this command?

Still, Work’s Hard

You and I are not like Adam before the Fall.  We get tired and bored.  Our tools fail us, our brains don’t work right.  Perhaps a coworker or a boss tries our patience.  Then, even as we finish that chore or a school assignment, we know more still awaits us tomorrow.  At times, it can feel like we’re running on a hamster wheel, getting nowhere.

Given all this, no wonder we dream of lounging on the beach with nothing to do.  Yes, it’s nice to have something to fill our time with, but wouldn’t it be nicer still if we could do exactly what we liked all the time?

No wonder we end up with a “living for the weekend” attitude.

Changing Our Mindset

Work’s always going to take effort.  There’s no changing that.  What we can change is our mindset.  If we look upward, if we remember why we work, our burden will lighten.  

I’ve mentioned how work allows us to imitate God.  But that’s only dipping our toes in the ocean.  Stay tuned!  Come Friday, we’ll dive deep into some encouraging reasons to work.

Amber Kinloch

Amber Kinloch

Amber  writes from the bunker of her living room.  There she hunkers down with her laptop and a blanket while keeping an eye and ear tuned in to the activity of family life.  Music set on loop keeps her energy flowing as she muses on the deeper happenings of ordinary life and what food to restock the fridge with.

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