Today is Labor Day in the United States – a day we observe to take a break from anything work-related (or at least that’s supposed to be what it represents). Since we are taking a break from work, I thought it would be fun to recognize and appreciate the value of work in our lives. Work serves a purpose.
Work enables us to provide and care for our families. It enables us to bless people during difficult times. And it enables us to live out our God-given talents.
Did you know work did all of these things?
Work Is Different Today Than Yesterday
My day job is corporate. I go into the office a few days a week, lead a team of people, and complete projects.
Over the course of the last 18 months, work has fundamentally changed. Digital platforms have changed the way we interact with each other, and in some ways, brought us closer together.
For me, I strategically plan my meetings around when I am in and out of the office. When I am at the office, I like to be present for my team and have a chance to visit the job sites and see the progress.
When I work from home, I meet…all day long. I am exhausted after 7-8 hours of meetings over the various platforms. Working is part of what we do and has been ingrained in us from when we were young. Sometimes it feels like your whole life path is set before you.
You have to get good grades in high school to get into a good college, get the right internship, get to the right grad school, get the right job, and then climb the corporate ladder as fast as possible.
Along the way, our path had too many crossroads, and we lost sight of the purpose of work.
In his book, The Gift of Work, Bill Heatley says,
“We will ruin our lives and hurt the people around us if we believe that goodness comes after we are successful. Every day, work will ask us for more of our life, more of our time, and will lure us with a false version of success.”1
He further states,
“I came to understand, in a new way that I could enter into the astonishing reality of God’s kingdom wherever I am, including at work.”2
Work is powerful, purposeful, and enables us to live a life that supports our goals and passions. If we are not careful, work can be all-consuming.
A New Way of Working
I have heard the adage before,
Don’t live to work, work to live!
For me, work enables me to fund important causes – the local church, missions, people in need, and the like.
I work to live, not the other way around. I am blessed by those with who I work and serve each day. I work to make the world a better place for those coming behind me, just as those who preceded me left for me to carry on the mission.
In their book, Win at Work and Succeed at Life, Michael Hyatt and Megan Hyatt Miller share the balancing act that drives their company. They want business owners and leaders to build successful companies, but not to sacrifice themselves, their families, or their profits. They call it the Double Win.
As we celebrate work today, let us not forget that God is the author of work. After Adam was created in Genesis, God put him to work tending the garden and naming the animals.
Work has been around since the beginning of time, but we have made it more than God intended it to be.
In Colossians 3:23, it says,
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”
When we view work with eternity in mind, we frame our work as purposeful instead of crunching numbers or cranking out widgets.
“But if we do not work, our lives are wasted because God designed work as a fundamental structure of love in the kingdom of God – something that is meant to bring people together in loving community for mutual benefit and support.”3
I do not want it to be lost in the discussion that seasons of work, just like with life, ebb, and flow. You might find yourself in a new season of life, and work has just retired. Enjoy your new adventure.
However, the flip side might be true as well. You might find yourself in search of work, having been a victim of our current times. If this is you, my heart and prayers go out to you as you search for what comes next and that God provides what you need when you need it. He has a way of providing when times are bad and good.
Enjoy today. Enjoy a moment of respite in your busy life. Embrace the goodness that work offers you, what it provides for you and your family; and, what it makes possible for the thing that matters most to you.
Lord, thanks for creating work and the ability to work. Thank you for your provision over our lives, and please grant us rest today as we re-charge and prepare for the week ahead. Thank you for your blessings that are new every day. Amen!
- Life Without Lack – Dallas Willard (book)
- The Gift of Work – Bill Heatley (book)
- Dallas Willard Ministries (website)
- The Gift of Work – Bill Heatley – pg. 19 ↩︎
- The Gift of Work – Bill Heatley – pg. 19 ↩︎
- Life Without Lack – Dallas Willard – p.60 ↩︎
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