Theme of the Week: Work as Divine Calling
Bible Verse: “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.” Proverbs 12:11 ESV
Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:17-20, Colossians 3:17
I was apparently born with a belief that life ought to be one long vacation. I’m not sure exactly when it began to dawn on me that this was false, but it was probably about the third time my mother called me in from playing because it was time to clean my room or do some chores.
My fantasy received another serious blow when I started school. Just when I had begun to come to terms with the occasional small task around the house, suddenly I was assaulted by a strict daily schedule and bells summoning me to definite places at definite times. Every moment was structured. Even “playtime” had rules! Before too long, home life, even with its handful of chores and responsibilities, started looking really good. Then one awful day I learned about homework. In a moment, the wall between school and home had been breached, my sanctuary overrun. Work was invading everything.
A few years later, when my allowance could no longer support my growing appetite for possessions, I became familiar with work at a whole new level by getting my first real job. Herding shopping carts in a freezing parking lot and stocking endless cans of peas was no thrill, but every week I got paid. And although I was learning some personal discipline, I was also absorbing a false lesson—that work is only about making money.
The transition has been challenging but it has also taught me, in ways far deeper than I have ever seen before, that the ultimate purpose of work is neither income, nor prestige, nor self-fulfillment. Rather, it is to bring glory to God. That’s what it means for work to be a calling. God calls us to a particular role, for a season or for a lifetime. That calling requires us to work.
Along with God’s call comes the grace to perform that work well, the ultimate purpose being to display his glory. In one sense, I’m amazed it took me thirty-eight years to learn these lessons. But at the same time I’m sure I can still learn them more deeply and thoroughly. Maybe you can too.
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