Some argue that before the fall of man there was still tasks and work to do in the garden, in a perfect world. However, the physical labour and toil of work — the fact that we work hard, sweat, labour, become tired from it, must work and are required to work in order to eat — is an obvious curse and result of the fall of man (Genesis 3:17).
But, although, work is a clear curse given to man, since the fall of mankind. Work doesn’t have to be something that we think miserably about or something that we completely hate to do and it doesn’t mean there is no purpose for work even in our current sinful and fallen world.
God’s Plan For Work Is Bringing Himself Glory:
In fact, God uses work to do many great things in His Kingdom, in His world and inside the hearts and minds of His faithful servants and children; but ultimately, God uses his instruments and His people through work to fulfil His purpose and to bring Himself glory. This means God has still found a purposeful reason to use the curse of work for His Kingdom.
Can Instruments Benefit From Working?
If God still has a purposeful plan for work, how should we, as Christians approach work? Is there a certain heart posture we should have towards work and can we gain anything edifying, fulfilling and valuable from work? I believe the answer to the above questions is: yes.
Here are 11 reasons why we should work, and how we can find redemptive, meaningful and fulfilling purposes and blessings from working, if we learn the purpose for work and how to have the right heart-posture:
#1 – Work: Obedience To Our Father:
Since the fall of man, we know we are forced to work. If we don’t work, we won’t eat. So certainly, the simple benefit of working is that: we get to eat. However, it extends further past that.
Another benefit of working, is that we fulfill our moral obligation and duty to God. When we fulfill our moral obligation to work willingly and obediently instead of grumbling, there is physical mortal and invisible eternal rewards for proper obedience to our Father.
#2 – Work: A Tool For Evangelism:
Whether it was God’s plan or not, God uses our curse of working to evangelize a broken, hurting and lost world. When we work, we have opportunities to build in to people’s lives, to love people, to care about them and to situate ourselves in a place where we can help them out at some point.
Whether, helping them out, is by helping them out financially, taking them to church, listening to their struggles, being a light, providing friendship, giving advice, supporting them or showing co-workers their sin and the redemptive work of the gospel, work is a tool to evangelize a broken world and to help broken-hurting people.
When we allow God to use us to evangelize His world and help hurting people, we become instruments that reap blessing. It may not be financial blessing, but we may be paid in fulfilment of being used by our father to advance His Kingdom and that should make us glad and feel like our work is not done in vain. Work is a tool and an invitation for us to gain satisfaction in sharing the good news.
#3 – Work: An Instrument For Holiness:
Many people focus on work as a means to an end, a title, a big paycheque, a way to get a head or a way to climb the corporate latter. This is not the meaning of work. It is not the path to true spiritual fulfilment. However, God does use work to create in us integrity and character.
I could have said in the heading that work builds integrity; However, it would be questionable as to what constitutes: ‘integrity’. Is integrity to simply be a good person or to be in good standing with people or is integrity to be in good standing with God? Is it to become more like Christ, to become Holy?
Integrity, in a Christian sense, can be defined equally as becoming: Holy. To become more like Christ, is to gain more integrity. The more we work and commit to work and working with a good attitude we learn skills that are applicable to life and building godliness. When we work we learn how to get up early, provide for our family, contribute to society, be on time, keep our word and much more.
The fact that God uses a man-made curse, such as work, to create Holiness, is an incredible picture of God’s grace alive and operating in our every day lives, even in the work place. To work and to be obedient to work, is an invitation into becoming more Holy, like Christ. It’s not purposeless.
#5 – Work: An Invitation For Surrender:
To work is to learn spiritual surrender. When we work, we are acknowledging God is the boss, that He is in control –that we submit under His authority — and we are learning to surrender ourselves to do His will, not our will.
When we learn daily to surrender to His design and to work cheerfully and obediently, we are essentially learning greater spiritual surrender. In short, following God’s will in this life — is in part to work — and following His will teaches us surrender to do what He asks us to do, instead of simply living for ourselves, which is meaningless.
#6 – Work: Learning Stewardship of Gifts:
We all have gifts in this life. We could sit around and do nothing, but we would feel miserable. Instead, we are called to use our gifts for God and to help others. When we go to work cheerfully and consistently and in faithfulness, we are learning to steward and build into our gifts in a greater capacity.
When we learn to build into our gifts and use them well, God teaches us more, increases our gifts, and we develop a hunger to learn more and do more with our gifts. It’s both fulfilling and challenging to work, to be able to work hard at developing new skills and practicing what it means and what it looks like to serve in God’s Kingdom.
#7 – Work: The Benefits of Servanthood & Societal Contribution:
Another benefit of work is that it helps us learn the dynamics and benefits of social contribution. When we work and use our gifts we are serving something bigger. Of course, our main goal is to serve Christ. However, there is fulfilment in learning to contribute to a community, to be part of something bigger than ourselves.
Jesus modelled this over and over. Even our King came to earth to serve (Mark 10:14). The reason God models servanthood qualities may partly be because it feels fulfilling to serve, but also, I believe, because when we serve we also grasp a bigger picture of what it means to love like Christ. To love like Christ is to: love serving.
When we serve we learn that it’s better to help people, then it is to hoard everything for ourselves and when we work we learn the benefits of helping others in community. We see a physical and practical picture of God’s love and we are compelled to follow Christ with even more passion, to serve others more while we become excited to get closer to a God who advocates service, a genuine love for others, and that it’s better to give then to get.
#7 – Work: A Heart-Posture of Personal Fulfilment:
This one has been said over and over, already. However, it hasn’t been said right out. When we work, with a joyful heart, consistently, and happily –day-in and day-out, we learn that work, with the right heart posture, becomes fulfilling.
Even though we as humans sinned and ruined God’s great design. God still allows us to derive fulfillment out of our obligation to the curse of working. The way we approach work and the heart attitude we have while at work will be the determining factor as to if we have access to personal spiritual fulfilment or if we decide to be miserable as we serve in God’s purposeful Kingdom.
#8 – Work: A Weapon For Fighting Temptation:
For the life of a believer, we know satan lurks around every corner (1 Peter 5:8) seeking to destroy us. We also understand the benefits and reality of the former aspect of 1 Peter 5:8, which says to be alert and of sober mind.
When we work, we are hopefully being of sober mind. This is because, when we work, we are showing up to work with a clear head. We are not showing up for work drunk, doing drugs, with no sleep or not showing up with a mindset that is unable to perform the duties we required and obligated to perform.
Instead, we are showing up alert and with a sober mind and this fights temptation. One because we are distracted by working in God’s Kingdom faithfully and obediently. Second, because we are learning new things and using our minds in a clear-headed manner. Third, because we are showing up rested. Fourth, because we are not being lazy. We are being alert and not sitting around allowing the devil to attack us in our idleness. All these things help fight off temptation.
#9 – Work: As a Form of Worship:
Where so many of us Christians go wrong, is in the area of our theology where we think ‘worship’ means to sing songs to God on a Sunday with a piano, drums or a guitar. Worship encompasses every area of our lives and it is a continual daily action that we must learn to participate in every minute of every day life.
With that being said, with the right heart attitude, work is an incredible form of worship towards God. It’s man’s informal way of saying, “Thank you Lord that you have given me life, breath in my lungs, the ability to work, the ability to help others, to serve, to learn about you in your world as I work, and thank you Lord, that you have given me work so that I can eat and learn to love you more and serve you more willingly in order to glorify you.”
#10 – Work: Learning Reliance on God:
Matthew 6:26, talks about the birds of the air and how they don’t store their food in barns and God specifically shows us that we are more valuable than them. When we submit ourselves to the process of being obedient in working, it’s a great reminder of learning the majesty and promises of Lord. That He is sufficient, faithful, authoritative, and that He is the King of the universe and He will supply our needs.
When we work, we have an incredible opportunity to lower ourselves and raise God up to His rightful place as King on the throne, the one who gives us work and takes care of His children. Work is an incredible tool to show us that we don’t get work or produce our own food and that our reliance shouldn’t be on us.
#11 – Work: A Portrait of Grace:
Lastly, work is an incredible portrait of God’s grace. Even though we sinned and offended a Holy and righteous God — one who could have just destroyed us in our sinfulness and started over — instead God chose to give us a second chance. Work is a picture of part of those terms of having a second chance. It’s a portrait of grace.
But even more than that, God’s grace shines through the fact that even in the curse of work, we can still find fulfilment in the curse. He didn’t just throw us all into spiritual separation and spiritual prison and into miserable darkness completely separated from the beacon of His light and His hope. Instead, He allowed us to discover Him and to share His goodness as we worship Him in obedience in fulfilling the obligations of our curse, which is to work.