Theme of the Week: Work as Divine Calling
Bible Verse: My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways. Proverbs 23:26 ESV
Scripture Reading: Colossians 1:17, Romans 8:34, Ephesians 1:5
We serve a God who works. He worked in creation, and from that first instant of created time he has guided and directed each molecule and moment, “sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3). Truly, “he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). Jesus obviously worked with extreme and sacrificial diligence during his time on earth, and is even now seated at the Father’s right hand, interceding—working—for us (Romans 8:34).
Our God not only works, continually and with perfect effectiveness, he takes pleasure in his labors. Like a great artist, God repeatedly stepped back from the canvas of creation and declared that it was “good.” Our Father also takes great pleasure in the unfolding and completion of his glorious plan of redemption, which is “in accordance with his pleasure and will” (Ephesians 1:5).
As we have seen, work was given to humanity as a gift from God before the fall. As with the other pre-fall gifts of marriage—sexuality and rest—God meant for us to take pleasure in our work, just as he does. One of my favorite films is Chariots of Fire, which tells the story of 1924 Olympic gold-medalist Eric Liddell. In one scene, Eric is debating with his sister, Jennie, about the value of his running versus his long-term goal of being a missionary in China. Jennie thinks Eric’s running is trivial compared to missionary work. Eric replies to her, “Jennie…you’ve got to understand. I believe that God made me for a purpose…for China. But he also made me fast, and when I run, I feel his pleasure.” Eric Liddell found great pleasure in running because it was work that God had gifted him to do. When Liddell was running he knew he was pleasing God in his labor.
A similar thing is true for all of us who use our gifts to labor in the kingdom of God. Accountants can feel God’s pleasure when accounts balance, lawyers can feel God’s pleasure when justice is done, mothers can feel God’s pleasure when their children are raised in the ways of the Lord, nurses can feel God’s pleasure when they heal and alleviate suffering, and teachers can feel God’s pleasure when their students learn about God and his creation.
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