A good understanding of work and our salvation will enables to work with great joy, energy and creativity to produce excellent work to show forth God's glory through the empowering of the new inner in Christ. This is how you can enjoy the working in the process and the fruits of your work.Not sure when our Singapore society has become "we work for money" rather than "we work for meaning and fun". The "敬业乐业" Professionalism and the Joy of Work philosophy that I learned in my high school days were somehow lost in this great pursuit of money and high salary policy. “They don't work because they were not paid” was believe hold by many.
Even in the Christians circle that should at the very least, be some conscience of the society, has the ultra-grace and prosperity gospel people singing "Because we are deeply loved, highly blessed, greatly favored, hence we don't have to work. Some even said that work is of the flesh! It is better to let go and let God!".
Actually, we all want to hear what we want to hear ... just give me the blessings without the hard work; the shortcut to riches without the efforts and challenges.
It may be a good time to look at the theology of work and the blessings of hard but joyful work.
1. The Theology of Work:
- Work is Fun. Hard work is even greater fun.
We need to differentiate
- the use of energy in working,
- from the emotion work stress and worry in work, and
- the output and outcome of the work.
- the environment where in the work take place (the 6M).
I used to share that I am so blessed that my company pays me a lot to enjoy myself. It is in fact that I enjoy my work that I am able to work hard and long and produces productive and good work that I was rewarded for.
In Hebrew, work and worship come from the same root word - Avodah meaning to work or to serve. Our good work reflects and shows forth the glory of God. God is glorified in our good work.
Our unique calling as in Eph 2:10 gives us meaning to work (Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.) See
God asked Adam in Gen 1:28 to manage the world, to tend the garden(Gen 2:15 ...put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it) , name the animals(Gen 2:19) before Adam sinned in Gen 3 and the curse on the ground that follows (Gen 3:17b the ground shall be cursed because of you; you shall eat of it in sorrow all the days of your life.). It is sinning that brings the curse of stress into work. Salvation brings the stress out of work but does not eliminate the work. Eph 2:10, we are saved for good work.
It does not teach us not to plan (Jesus told us to count the costs) but not to worry. While the birds don't plant, they have to hunt for food. There are hunters and farmers in the ancient world. Now we have farmers, manufacturers, business and other kinds of services providers.
Many people are thankful for the contracts won and consider those as blessings of God. But we must watch out and not any good start of blessings to turn into curses. Winning big contracts are good start. But we do know of many companies, big and small, make big losses on big contracts won. It takes hard work and smartness to deliver the big contracts won to make big profits. Only then, can we be confident that they are blessings. Otherwise, it could just as well be devil's traps to sink us!
- curse on the ground and
- the pain to get food from the ground.