Work

 

 

Before I get started let’s consider what work is. Some would say it’s a 4-letter word. It is, but that doesn’t make it a bad word or a bad thing. On the contrary, work is an excellent thing. You might say it’s what we do to accomplish our goals. Surely some work is enjoyable and some work is not. If it feels like work we tend to think it is not enjoyable. On the other hand work can be extremely enjoyable. So what’s the difference? Let’s look at a few Bible verses and then revisit this question.

 

God is a creator.

*   (Gen 1:1 NIV)  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

God is a worker.

*   (Gen 2:1-3 NIV)  Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. {2} By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. {3} And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

We were made for work.

*   (Gen 2:15 NIV)  The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

*   (Gen 3:23 NIV)  So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.

Our work should be creative.

*   (1 John 3:2 NIV)  Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

*   (1 John 4:17 NIV)  In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment, because in this world we are like him.

Enjoy your work.

*   (Eccl 3:22 NIV)  So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?

*   (Eccl 5:19 NIV)  Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work--this is a gift of God.

Work out your salvation.

*   (Phil 2:12-13 NIV)  Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, {13} for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Don’t work; don’t eat.

*   (2 Th 3:10-12 NIV)  For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." {11} We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. {12} Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.

Do not work on the Sabbath.

*   (Lev 23:3 NIV)  "'There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the LORD.

 

Now let’s revisit the question of what makes work enjoyable and what if any benefit there is to hard work. To begin with, the amount of effort required to accomplish the work has very little correlation to the enjoyment of the work. Consider recreational activities that require a lot of strenuous work; football, soccer, tennis, and Olympic sports come to mind. Consider boring work that has no fun factor and isn’t considered creative. Perhaps sorting eggs, counting cars that go by a certain point, or taking tickets at a theatre would be examples. How about remuneration for your effort? Nope it doesn’t make a job enjoyable although it might make it more tolerable.

 

Work should be creative and personally rewarding and contain a challenge that can be overcome. If work contains these elements it becomes less like work and more like play. It becomes something you want to do. It makes you just a little God-like. The creation element in recreation is important. It relates to the act of being creative. The evidence is very strong that work is good for individuals, families, nations, and the world. That is if it is good work.

 

Here are some observation and statistics on work that I think are rather interesting. I found them in a book by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann called, 2010- Take Back America.

 

“The entire ethic of Western European socialism is oriented around leisure. The Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard noted, ‘Americans work 50% harder than Germans, French, or Italians.’ Asked to rate the importance of ‘Leisure’ in their lives on a scale of +4 to –4, Europeans gave it a + 2in the Institute’s study. American’s gave leisure a –1.But asked to rate the importance ‘hard work,’ American’s gave it a +4 while Europeans gave it a –2. As the Institute noted, ‘Europeans work to live while Americans live to work.’”

 

The Wall Street Journal had this to say about work. “For most Americans, work is a rock-solid source of life happiness. Happy people work more hours per week than unhappy people, and work more in their free time as well. Even more tellingly, people with more hours per day to relax outside their jobs are not any happier than those who have less non-work time. In short, the idea that our heavy workloads are lowering our happiness is twaddle.”

 

Here are some statistics that back up the assertions. Perhaps your own life experience is all you need to illustrate the truth of work as a source of good things.

 

Satisfied with one’s Own life.

United States

65%

Great Britain

59%

France

57%

Germany

48%

Italy

48%

 

Satisfied with the Quality of Their Lives

United States

65%

Western Europe

53%

 

Satisfied with Family Income

United States

76%

Western Europe

65%

 

Suicide Rates in United States and Europe

Nation

Suicides/100,000

Belgium

21

Finland

20

France

18

Austria

18

Switzerland

18

Germany

14

Sweden

14

Denmark

14

United States

11

United Kingdom

7

 

Alcohol Consumption in United States and Europe (2006)

Nation

Liters/Capita

Ireland

13.4

France

13.0

Austria

12.9

Denmark

12.2

Czech Republic

11.9

United Kingdom

11.0

Switzerland

10.2

Finland

10.1

Germany

10.1

Netherlands

9.6

United States

8.6

 

The Bible makes it clear that work is a good and necessary thing. Practical experience confirms what the Bible teaches. An argument can be made that because America was to a very large extent a Christian people that cherished the freedom God gave them, cherished the ability to work as they chose, saw self reliance as a good thing but also saw voluntary cooperation as a way for individuals to excel that America became great. Americans knew that God was interested in us individually and that what we did as individuals determined, to a large extent, our destiny. Poor men don’t have jobs to offer. Poor men can’t be nearly as charitable as men of means. Money is the end we seek but one of several means to reach that end.

 

*   (2 Cor 9:7-9 NIV)  Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. {8} And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. {9} As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."