To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. Genesis 3:17
Work, many times, is work. Painful toil is a consequence of what happened in the beginning—God cursed the ground because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. Labor became laborious; instead of paradise in the sinless Garden of Eden there was blood, sweat and tears mingled with sin. Work is not meant to be ease, but intense effort.
“So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken” (Genesis 3:23).
Is your work a struggle? Are you in one of the most stressful seasons of your career? If so, God doesn’t waste pain. It’s in your discomfort that He comforts and in your unease that He gives courage. If the Lord has your attention in an environment out of your control, stay true to what you can do and leave the results with God. In stress seek Jesus. “So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:20).
Furthermore, see work as worship to Almighty God; a sacrifice of service you lay before Himfor the Holy Spirit to ignite with power and effectiveness. Lift your heart and head in humility; present your hands and feet by faith—all for God’s glory. Silently sing in sincere worship while you work. Worshipful music does for the ears what the Sistine Chapel does for the eyes—it's lovely to listen to for the glory of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Lastly, look at your work as a testament to excellence on behalf of Jesus. Your ministry is your work and your work is your ministry. Monday through Saturday are not secular days of service, but a Christian’s sacred obligation to model their faith with first rate work. Perhaps you facilitate a Bible study at lunch, or before or after hours. Your outstanding effort in the enterprise earns you the right to prayerfully and graciously share your faith.
So—when job security is jittery and insecure—exhibit God's peace in the form of calm contentment and patient perseverance. Work struggles are the scenario where others can see you act out what you say you believe. Perhaps your bold belief during adverse work conditions activates believers and leads unbelievers to begin their belief in Christ.
“Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you” (1 Thessalonians 2:9).
Prayer: Do struggles at work lead me to worship my Savior Jesus and model excellent work?
Related Readings: Ecclesiastes 8:15; 2 Corinthians 11:26-31; Revelation 9:19-20
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© 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
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