Learning to Live… Through Jesus, Our Neighbours and Each Other

GOD, WORK, AND LABOUR DAY

The idea of work sends mixed messages to our world.

‘Take this job and shove it’ sings Johnny Paycheck (the name seems a bit ironic!).

‘Meaningless, meaningless’ says supposedly wise old Solomen.  ‘What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?

We use negative terms like workaholic, tedious, and repetitive to describe some work.

But we also speak glowingly of work:  finding our bliss, self-fulfillment.  We enjoy work that is productive, and being in a workplace committed to teamwork and excellence.

I did a quick trip down memory lane this week and remembered some of the jobs I’ve had:  farmhand, mill-worker, cabinet-maker, bookseller, and pastor, among others.  Some of them were certainly more fulfilling than others.

At the end of Genesis 1 we read that “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31).   A wonderful picture of divine work which extends throughout Scripture.

While we tend to use familiar images for God: king, father, shepherd, the Bible also uses lesser known worker images to describe God’s activity.  God the potter, beekeeper, doctor, gardener, and property owner are just a few.

We need these less well-known images for they are drawn from the world of work where most of us spend a good deal of our lives.  Such commonplace images help to remind us of the sacredness of our daily lives, out beyond the walls of the church.  And such images remind us that our work matters to God and that the way we do our work is a witness to the wider world of what we believe about God’s creation and its goodness.

PRAYER:   Teach us, dear Lord, to number our days;
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Oh, satisfy us early with Thy mercy,
that we may rejoice and be glad all of our days.
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us;
and establish Thou the work of our hands.
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us;
and establish Thou the work of our hands, dear Lord.  Amen

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