Work and Worship
“Six days you shall labor, and do all your work.” (Exodus 20:9, ESV)
Before Rory McIlroy held The Players Championship trophy in his hands, he was asked what he believed made the difference to finish on top of the leaderboard after several near misses. He spoke about how he knew if he kept working on all the little components of his game then his work would pay off. His perspective was to patiently keep working toward his goal.
Tour professionals know that practicing and preparing to compete is full-time work. And while there is not a linear correlation between more practice equaling a win, diligent work does make a difference.
The call to work goes back to the beginning of God’s story when he put Adam in the garden of Eden to work and keep it (Genesis 2:15). Before the fall (when the fruit of the tree was eaten), work came with a divine dignity. As the result of the fall, labor was cursed with painful toil. An ongoing consequence of this painful toil is the war our souls fight to experience the divine dignity of work versus grasping for significance through our work. I struggled with attaching my sense of worth to my golf performance throughout my career, and it’s still one of my struggles today in my ministry work.
A question for us to consider today then is, “How do we view our work?” Whether as a professional athlete, a business professional, a mother, a student, public servant, ministry leader, or a volunteer, how we view our work ultimately influences how we perceive God and also our view about rest (a topic for another day).
In his teaching series on the Sabbath at walkingthetext.com, Pastor Brad Gray suggests three things to keep in mind about work that I’m meditating on.
- (1) Work is a gift from God and it’s good. It came before the fall and there is work that God is calling each one of us to do.
- (2) We all are in full-time ministry as followers of Jesus. Individually we are gifted in unique ways to live out God’s love in the sphere of influence he gives us.
- (3) The work we do is a form of worship. The Hebrew word used for work in Genesis 2:15 is avad and means to serve, to work, to worship. Paul expounds on this idea in his letter to the Colossians: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24).
How we do our work is just as important as what we do for work. Our work is our worship (to God) and our worship (to God) is our work. As we labor for the Lord today, may we view it as a gift, as a way to live out God’s love, and as a form of worship to him alone.
March 28, 2019
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