EDITORIAL: Blessing of work

“Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth” (Proverbs 10:4).

People sometimes point to scripture as justification for hating their work.
The Book of Genesis records God as telling Adam, after he and Eve had sinned and been banned from the Garden of Eden, “You shall earn your bread by the sweat of your brow.”
Many interpret this proclamation as a continuing curse, and an imperfect world can shape work as just that. The same bone-wearying toil, day after day as far into the future as the mind can anticipate, would certainly drive all but the strongest to despair. Mind-numbing tedium that offers no discernible purpose can also sap one’s vitality, spurring the “Thank God it’s Friday” mentality – or worse.
Work need not be a curse, though. Again and again, Genesis records God’s satisfaction in his creation: “And God saw that it was good.”
Productive, creative labor was a part of God’s plan even before sin entered the world: “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15).
Work is part of God’s purpose: “Six days you shall labor and do all your work” (Exodus 20:9).
Work is partly about providing for ourselves and those around us.
“He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment” (Proverbs 12:11).
“If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).
Paul warns those who think themselves above useful service: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
Work is also about fulfilling our spiritual duties. Paul wrote to the young preacher Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Judeo-Christian tradition, however, reminds us that work is not the ultimate blessing. After commanding six days’ labor, God added, “But on the seventh day you shall rest” (Exodus 20:10), reminding us that our identity is ultimately not in our life’s work but in eternity.

NEMS Daily Journal

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