Monday, November 19, 2012

Work

We, as Americans, are very conflicted about work. Working. We want to work; we're thankful we have jobs. We go to college so that, eventually, we can work. But it's hard, it's time-consuming and it gets in the way of life. If only we didn't have a job, we would....

I've been pretty convicted about this attitude in myself lately. If you know me, you know that it's taken me about four years (and A LOT of God's grace) to make peace with the fact that, in our family, I need to work outside the home full time. This may not always be the case, but it might be, and that has been difficult for me to come to terms with, to say the least. I am not ashamed to admit that I still struggle with this, though far less than I used to. Too often, I look at my job as something that gets in my way of really living, and no one would blame me: I have two small kids, a husband, a house we're trying to sell, papers to grade, dinners to make, baths to give, you get the picture. The problem is that this way of looking at my job is wrong. So wrong. Instead of seeing my job as something that gets in the way of my life (because, from a time viewpoint, my life gets in the way of my job), I need to switch my paradigm to seeing my job as part of the circumstances God has given me. Something to be thankful for, yes, but not something to be simply tolerated. Not something to try to get out of or get around. Something to be accepted gratefully and completely with open arms, eager for the opportunities God has for placing me there.

God has been convicting me a lot lately about this idea of work. The book of Ecclesiastes, especially, has shown me that God's plans are perfect and mine are futile. His purposes are greater than mine, and it is His will for me to be content with what I have. That means my faith is not determined by my circumstances. I have said this over and over again; I remind myself of this all the time. All of my life is a gift of grace, even the trials. Even the work that I do. Even the fact that I am in the position I am in in the building I'm in, and so on and so forth.

(Caveat: No, my job is not my entire life. If you know me, you know that. But it is part of my life, and a pretty significant part of it. So why would I dread/waste/complain about it when it has been entrusted to me by Almighty God? How foolish would I be?)

And I had forgotten that. I had lowered my vision from Heaven where it belongs to this earth where all of the tiny, dramatic details weigh us down. I have forgotten what I deserve and who I was.
Scripture says in Colossians 3:17, "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." This includes working in the jobs where we spend most of our time (and probably do most of our ministry, whether we know it or not.)
And so, friends, be encouraged. It all comes back to the gospel. And grace. And not our strength.

Soli Deo Gloria.

4 comments:

  1. I needed to read this tonight!

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  2. And here's where we're opposites, but still the same...
    you struggle with letting go of home and being grateful for work. I struggle with letting go of work and being grateful for home.
    I guess the lesson is the same.

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  3. Love this! It is so uncommon to read this side of the story and I really appreciate it! I really pray God would help you in your journey! Blessings!

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