A One-Hundred Day Journey to Freedom: Meditation #40
The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything. Deuteronomy 2:7
So that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. Deuteronomy 14:29
For seven days celebrate the festival to the Lord your God at the place the Lord will choose. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete. Deuteronomy 16:15
When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. Deuteronomy 24:19
The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. Deuteronomy 28:12
Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors. Deuteronomy 30:9
As you look at these texts you will see one common theme; God loves to bless the work of our hands. To better understand this, we need to have a thoroughly biblical definition of work. Let me point out just two aspects of such a definition. Work is both a co-laboring with God in the greater work that he is doing, and work is worship.
The understanding of work as co-laboring flows directly out of the creation account in Genesis. When God places the first couple in the garden and commands them to take care of it, he is calling them into a life of labor that is integrally related to God’s own work. Paul reminds us, we can plant and water, but only God brings the increase. As any gardener or farmer knows, growing a crop is a combination of the work we do (tilling, planting, watering, weeding, etc.) and the work God does in providing the rain to fall, the sun to shine and the crops to grow. In every vocation, regardless of how grand or menial our work may be, we are co-laborers with God. God is at work in our workplace and our presence and toil there must be seen as a cooperation in the greater work that he is doing in our midst. Scripture tells us of God’s omnipresence and sovereignty. We must believe that God is active everywhere, even in the hardest of work conditions. God is at work in the hearts and lives of our coworkers, and he calls us and places us in certain vocations to labor with him in the greater work of his kingdom.
Our work is also a significant form of worship. If we are to do everything to the glory of God, and if all time belongs to him, then every minute we spend at work is an opportunity to honor and glorify him. God created us for work, and when we do it with excellence and joy our work becomes and offering, an act of worship back to him.
As you prepare to go to work tomorrow, do you see your job as an opportunity to co-labor with God, to enter into the bigger picture of what he is doing in your place of work? And will you undertake your work tomorrow and transform it into a daylong act of worship? Just as we were called to root out the love of money that we may serve God only and be stewards of his creation, so we are to be stewards of our work in this two-fold way. Are you “working 9 to 5 just to make a living” or is your work a reflection of your love for your neighbor and an act of worship to God?
Imagine for a moment that you had the opportunity to spend one day in the workshop with Jesus. What would that day be like? It would likely contain a lot of the normal activities of a busy carpenter shop. There would be bent nails, slivers, difficult customers, and crooked lumber. But you can imagine there would also be incredible moments working side-by-side with the Master, learning from him, watching him, and growing in your own skills by being in his presence. I can imagine we would all go home believing it was one of the greatest workdays of our lives. The truth is, we are invited to work with Jesus every day. How do you see that being lived out in your own work setting? Do you believe that he is present with you, and busily at work in the lives of people around you? Do you believe he has work for you to do, co-laboring with him in that bigger work? For the next five days, pray that God would give you eyes to see the work he is doing, and write down every time you see it. Look back then over the week and see if you’re not surprised at how present God is in your work setting and how many opportunities there are to co-labor with him in that greater story.
Lord, forgive me for the times when I have seen my life at work as being separate from your presence and actions in my life. I acknowledge that you are very present in my place of work, however I’ve just not seen it as clearly as I should. Lord I want to be a co-laborer with you in my work. You have brought me to this position and even in my most frustrating moments I know that you are there and active. Lord help me connect my vision for my job and career with your vision for what you seek to accomplish in and through my place of work. And Lord, open my heart that every moment of my life at work may be transformed into an act of worship to you. I want my work to bring you glory. Give me eyes to see and the courage to act that I might accomplish this. Thank you for my job, for my boss, my coworkers, and for the opportunity to serve you in this place. Help me to be a faithful steward of this opportunity, and use me in my work for the bigger picture that is happening all around me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.