The Human Sciences Research Council of S.A. did a study in 2005 that indicated that only 21% of South African employees were satisfied with their jobs. What does this tell us? It tells us that if we actually enjoy our jobs, we’re very fortunate and should be grateful. It also tells us that if we don’t particularly enjoy our jobs we are not alone. Most importantly, however, it tells us that people have a very low view of work. What should a Christian’s attitude be towards work?
First, we should remember that God instituted work. Genesis 1:26-28 tells us that God commanded man to, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion”. This was “very good” according to v. 31. Work isn’t explicitly mentioned in these verses, but it is implied. It is mentioned in the next chapter: “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15). If we want to cultivate a Christian attitude towards work, we need to understand that work was instituted by God before the fall. This means that work is a gift, not a punishment.
If work is so good, why is it so hard? This brings us to our second point: work has been affected by the fall. Genesis 3:17-19 explains: “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread”.
The fall marred our enjoyment of work, but that does not mean work should be abandoned altogether. Marriage is another gift that was instituted before the fall, but affected by it. We don’t abandon marriage; we work at it. By God’s grace work, like marriage, can be redeemed, restored and enjoyed. Work is not our enemy – sin is. There is dignity in work, regardless of how menial that work might seem. Work, done right, brings God glory.
Because of Christ,