By Gary Blackard
It was one of the hardest jobs I ever did. We had volunteered to dig out a foundation pad on a sloping hill at a ranch in California. There were no funds for large equipment, just shovels and picks. We spent the better part of a full day digging out that pad and when finished we were tired, sore and fulfilled.
We had just ministered to a ranch family through one of God’s creative processes—work.
All throughout history, humanity has recognized the value of work. However, as the years have turned to centuries the value of work has been misinterpreted at times, and often neglected, especially in Christian circles.
Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “When men are employed they are best contented.”
William Penn wrote in 1693, “Love labour: for if thou dost not want it (labor) for food, thou mayest for physic. It (labor) is wholesome for thy body and good for thy mind. It (labor) prevents the fruits of idleness, which many times comes of nothing to do, and leads too many to do what is worse than nothing.”
I believe William Penn got it right. This is the biblical worldview of work. God designed work for our pleasure and our growth. It came before the fall of man into sin. Work is not a result of sin as many have come to believe. God gave work to Adam prior to Adam’s disobedience. Adam was told “to dress and to keep” the garden.
Do we look at our work as a provision from God? Do we attend to our jobs as if God has given the job to us? I believe if Christians truly lived by this principle, every human resources professional, recruiter, and hiring manager would be seeking Christians for employment. They would see the results of living out that principle.
If we believe that God is all-powerful, all-knowing and omnipresent, then we know that we are in his care and the job we currently are in is of no surprise to him. God designed work and we are designed to work. The sooner we change our attitudes and behaviors towards work and treat it as if God placed us there, the sooner we will find real value.
Does this mean you should not think about promotions, transitions or changes within your career? On the contrary, God also designed humanity to be creative, to adapt, to grow and to learn. As we learn new things and grow in our lives, it is only natural to be drawn towards other goals or objectives.
The point is that whatever you are currently employed in, believe that God has placed you there for a purpose, even it is short-lived, because he has.
For more information regarding the Theology of Work and other faith and work resources, please review the following:
- You can purchase Gary’s book “Relevance in the Workplace: Using the Bible to Impact your Job” on Amazon.
About The Author
Gary Blackard is currently the Chief Information Officer for Evangel University. He has served as VP for Xerox, is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and has worked with many Fortune 100 organizations globally. He has a Masters in Healthcare Administration from the University of Southern California. Gary resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife Debra and they attend James River Church. Gary has started The Relevance Network, a community engaged in learning and implementing biblical principles for work.