In Sunday’s sermon, I said that often our work is directed at making a name for ourselves instead of showing off God’s beauty.
I know that it can be difficult—in whatever line of work you are in—to see how it directly glorifies God.
Often, Christians think that if they have a “secular” job that they can only glorify God in the three E’s: Evangelism, Ethics, and Excellence.
Those three things are important. You definitely SHOULD tell people the people you work with about Jesus, and you should do your work ethically and with excellence.
But that still doesn’t help you see the value of the ACTUAL work you are doing.
Work has inherent value that started in the Garden of Eden.
Adam and Eve were given commands to “be fruitful and multiply”. They were told before the fall to “work and keep” the garden.
And when God gives Israel the law on Mt. Sinai, the reason given to keep the Sabbath is directly linked to working and resting like God worked and rested at creation (Exodus 20:8-11).
If you are going to find the value in your work, you need to look to the way God worked in creation.
Here are three things to look for:
God’s creation of the world was meticulously ordered. God was setting things in place, in perfect relationships with each other, so that his image-bearers could flourish and thrive.
Any work that you do that takes chaos and brings order to it is God’s work.
If you are an office administrator helping the office to run with efficiency, color-coding files so they can be found quickly and easily, and helping your co-workers flourish and thrive…you are bringing order to chaos.
If you are a plumber fixing a broken pipe, installing a toilet, or unclogging a drain, you are bringing order to chaos. You are creating or restoring an environment where others can thrive.
Genesis 2:9 says, “And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.”
It’s astounding to me that God made the trees pleasant to the sight. Moses even lists the trees’ beauty before their usefulness. Seems unnecessary doesn’t it? Why not just make them steel poles that distribute nutritious wafers? Did Adam and Eve really need a view?
Beauty is the first thing we cast aside when we strip things down to necessity. The first programs to get cut in schools are the arts, which assumes that beauty is extra—sort of like the flavoring you can add to kids medicine to help it go down smoother.
But beauty is the original plan of God—His work created beauty. In fact, if we take Psalm 27:4 seriously, beauty is not something that makes the journey more enjoyable: beauty is actually the aim of our journey! It's the destination!
That means if you are an artist, a painter, a songwriter, a rapper, a poet, a trumpet player, you aren’t just adding “something extra” to life…you are necessarily showing off beauty (provided the art you create is telling the truth).
In fact, art is a type of ordering that brings beauty. Songwriters order notes to make music. Poets and rappers order words so the truth is “pleasing to the sight”…errr…ears.
If you are adding beauty to the world, you are doing God’s work.
In the garden, Adam and Eve had everything they needed for life.
There was no scarcity. Nothing good existed in short supply. Four rivers flowed in providing ample water supply. Gold and other precious minerals that would have been good for both building structures (order) and for displaying beauty were seemingly just laying around (Genesis 2:10-14)
And then there was the fruit. Everything needed for nourishment was at hand.
This means that the banker or stock broker who helps the businessman multiply capital so that that businessman can be generous and bring abundance into other’s lives is doing God’s work.
The builder who is bringing houses into existence where there is not enough housing, the oil rigger who is a part of the chain of people that result in all of us being able to get to our jobs…all of these folks are bringing abundance to a place of scarcity.
And, that’s not to mention the aid workers around the world bringing parents to orphans, food to the starving, and digging wells to provide water where no drinkable water existed.
If you are bringing the abundance of good where goodness is scarce, you are doing God’s work.
What do all these categories have in common? Each of them show off the way we reflect God and serve our fellow man.
…which Jesus said summed up the law. (Matthew 22:36-40)
So, if you don’t know why it’s worth going in to work on a Monday, just ask yourself, “Where does my work provide Order, Beauty, or Abundance?”…because where you find that…you’ll find God.