Work is an interesting concept. Some may automatically associate the word with employment, which is doing a specific task in exchange for money. Others may associate it with intense labor, which is anything that requires effort. If you were to look up in the Oxford online dictionary, you would find several definitions regarding work, including:
“Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.”
“Mental or physical activity as a means of earning income; employment.”
Looking at these definitions, both of the associations mentioned above would be right, with the one common factor being the phrase: “mental or physical activity/effort”.
With this in mind, let’s all take a moment and admit to ourselves how we feel about work (this physical or mental activity/effort). I personally don’t think I would work if I had a choice. I’m not sure what I would do instead, but there are many options that don’t require physical or mental effort. Maybe you, as the reader, feel the same way (otherwise I’ll just have to accept that I’m a really lazy human being). Yet, despite the dislike we share (I hope), most of us have had to work at some point. But why do we do something that we don’t necessarily enjoy?
The quick answer is because we need to. To earn money, to get good grades, to keep mom from throwing a shoe at you because of the state of your room. Your average reasons. But as Christians, there is also an additional reason for why we do things: because it is written in God’s Word. The same rule applies to work.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
It wasn’t conveniently left out of what God expects from His children, which makes sense since we, God’s children, are expected to be set apart from the rest of the world. A world that doesn’t like work all that much. A world that also doesn’t expect much work from its young people.
Now, you may be thinking, why would this passage about work be relevant to you? It may be years before you have to be employed. My answer would be: it’s very relevant to you, even more relevant to those who are ready to work.
You see, Ephesians 2 doesn’t talk about working to earn money, it only mentions good works that God has prepared for us in advance; work we were created to do; created by a God who was there from the very beginning of your life.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” – Psalm 139:13 (NIV)
God had a purpose for your life, and one of those purposes was to work (“mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result”). If you don’t believe me, then take a look at some verses that very clearly express God’s feelings towards those people who don’t work:
“If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” – Timothy 5:8 (NIV)
“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers it food at harvest.” – Proverbs 6:6-8 (NIV)
“How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?” – Proverbs 6:9 (NIV)
Not a very positive attitude it is? God really doesn’t like laziness. Which is worrying, because laziness is often used to describe your average teenager. I think it’s time to change that, something the writers at Reckless Abandon are aiming to do this month, by focusing on the concept of work and what the Bible has to say about this topic.
For now, to begin this series, I want you guys to remember this: you were created for a purpose, and part of that purpose is to do “good works”. Keep this in mind the next time you need to work; does it change your attitude towards the task at hand? Is the work that you are doing good?