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Working to Serve or Serving the Work?

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Work is a gift God gave us when he made us (Genesis 2:15). Our creative impulse - our desire to make or do something and feel the final satisfaction that, yes, our work is very good - is a reflection of being made in the image of the Creator. It's not just about bringing home the bacon or counting the hours ?til we can get home to our "real life." And it's also not primarily about others.

Here's the real thrust of Sayers' idea: "Work is not, primarily, a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do. It is, or it should be, the full expression of the worker's faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental, and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God" (italics mine).

Wow - that sounds sort of selfish at first, doesn't it? To suggest that we should seek our own satisfaction in our work is quite the opposite of focusing on the satisfaction of others. But serving our work is a critical means through which we obey the primary great commandment that Jesus spoke of: "Love the Lord your God" (Matthew 22:37). We honor God by employing our skills to perform the tasks before us with excellence.

Perhaps faith and work do find their most poignant intersection in that moment when one breathes a sigh of deep satisfaction after having led a meeting well or prepared a delicious meal or even properly and meticulously delivered an umbilical cord to the lab.

What do you think? What's wrong - if anything - with the mind-set that faith is lived out at work primarily through witnessing, godly character, or service? Is it selfish to seek - and enjoy - satisfaction from work well done?

September18, 2007 at 10:56 AM

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