According to most millennials, our work, also known as ergasia in Greek is unfortunately not always aligned with our passion. Many of you can attest to the life investment we devote to a weekly 9 to 5 or better yet 60+ hour week. We strive to earn a living that is more meaningful only to realize, for most of us that it feels more “meaningless” than intended; it’s as if we are “chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14). I often ponder of the true meaning of work. Being a person who has fell victim to the mundane “workaholic” lifestyle during many seasons in my life, I continue to seek meaningful work and to find motivation even on my most difficult days.
Nothing motivates me like God’s Word. I began to seek God’s perspective on this hence work is a significant factor in our design yet many of us aren’t passionate about it. Truth is, many of us are passionate about something even if we do not feel passionate about anything at all. We are passionate about comfort. Our inherent nature desires it. However, Jesus says “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”(Matthew 16:24). Therefore, we must deny our flesh and pursue His will despite our feelings.
“From the beginning, God intended human beings to be his junior partners in the work of bringing his creation to fulfillment. It is not in our nature to be satisfied with things as they are, to receive provision for our needs without working, to endure idleness for long, to toil in a system of uncreative regimentation, or to work in social isolation. To recap, we are created to work as sub-creators in relationship with other people and with God, depending on God’s provision to make our work fruitful and respecting the limits given in His Word and evident in his creation.” -Theology of Work
I don’t know about you but the thought of being “sub-creators” in God’s story convicts me. It convicts the lazy side of me that strives for comfort. The book of Proverbs refers to this type of individual who is resistant to working as a “Sluggard.”I’m sure you’ve heard the principle of reaping and sowing. For the sluggard, there is nothing to reap because it was never sown but yet the sluggard still searches for a reward. That’s comparative to looking for snow on the ground on a day when snow is forecasted, expecting your manager to inform you about the office being closed and expecting to be paid for the day. Yes, I know we’ve all done it at some point.
I often times wonder if I need to be passionate about my work all the time. However, what I am learning is that I do not. In fact, work wasn’t designed for that benefit. Yes, it’s so fulfilling to be motivated by what you do and contribute purposeful, meaningful work. That’s a tremendous blessing but you’re not always going to enjoy it. God granted us free will so that we can choose to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, choose to worship Him in a fallen world, choose to have joy, peace, and contentment in menial or uncomfortable tasks. However we choose to feel, we are still commanded by Him to work. To be fruitful and to multiply whether we feel like it or not.
Remember, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.” (Gen. 2:15). God gave Adam the pre-ordained task to till the land and maintain it and Adam honored the first instruction until God decided it is not good for man to be alone (Gen 2:18). Once sin entered the world, work was no longer a breeze. In Genesis 3:17, God says to Adam”Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. Therefore, sin caused our labor to become “painful toil.”
There are times when work will feel painful. When we won’t have the same desire to complete the tasks we were once so passionate about and that’s ok. Our feelings are completely normal. I’m made aware of this in my own industry. I do not always feel passionate about what I do and there are seasons when the work feels really challenging. Some days my brain feels really stretched and I’m reluctantly banging my head against a wall struggling to solve a problem. My code compiles with errors and the program crashes each time. That is when I recall how far God has brought me and His purpose for providing me with this job. I think about what probably lies ahead if I can only complete His assignment. How many people will get saved or the offspring who will be blessed by the fruit that comes from my labor. If I allow myself to be led by my emotions, I just might miss out which is especially difficult for me to accept when my ultimate desire is to be used by God. So don’t pursue comfort, pursue God’s will whether it feels good or not. He always has a good outcome.