This coming Monday is Labor Day. It’s great that a day set aside to celebrate workers is celebrated by not working! Not all of us get the day off, and if that includes you, thanks for your role in keeping things rolling. If you get the extra day off, enjoy.
Whether you’re working on Monday or not, do this one thing: don’t complain about your work as if it’s a bad thing. Your work is needed, and it is an opportunity for you to display Christ and reflect the image of God.
That’s right. You reflect the image of God when you work.
We share a lot in common with animals. Scientifically, we are classed as animals because of these common traits. We eat, we sweat, we bark at others. Even some internal parts of us share enough commonality that they can be shared. I’ve been a Type 1 diabetic for over 40 years, and for 20 of those years, I injected myself daily with insulin from cows and pigs.
Of course, there are a lot of differences too. Our intellect and reasoning skills are significantly different—and higher—than other animals. (Although I’ve never known a Cocker Spaniel to willingly binge watch Spongebob Squarepants.) The big separator, though, is our relation to God.
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female” (Gen. 1:26-27).
Theologians like to debate what exactly is meant by “the image of God.” I’ll save that debate for another day, but I think this much is clear: as those who bear His image, we are to reflect God. In everything.
We can’t separate our lives into secular parts and sacred/spiritual parts. As God’s image-bears, it all rolls into one. We don’t just reflect God on Sunday mornings. We reflect God when we’re mowing the yard, chopping onions, yelling at the quarterback from the comfort of the La-Z-Boy. And we reflect Him in our work—and how we do that work.
God worked throughout the six days of creation. As His image-bearers, we have the capacity to be creative, and we are to work. Work is not a part of the fall that came after sin entered our world. “The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it” (2:15). That command to work occurred before the fall.
With the fall, the element of hardship entered our work. Difficulty, long hours, repetitive tasks, and drudgery often cloud over the beauty of work, but it is still work to be done as His image-bearers.
But, Lynn, you don’t understand how meaningless and boring my work feels. I don’t attend class reunions because I’m embarrassed for people to know what I do.
Your work doesn’t give you dignity. You bring dignity to your work. Your dignity comes from the fact that you are made in the image of God, you are loved by Him, and He died to remove your sin and restore the full dignity He created you to live in.
You may not be the CEO or owner of your own business, but your role is needed. I don’t care how dreary your work may feel, start to see it from an eternal perspective. If you are a follower of Christ, the work you do is for Him. You may not be directly changing the world with your work, but you can still honor Christ. And with an eye to please Him, you can start to change your own attitude toward even the dreariest of tasks.
“Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people” (Col. 3:23).
Related Post: What Your Work Says About You
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Lynn Very good post. Work is very good. Love reading your articles. Thanks!