What are you grateful for? I realize Thanksgiving is over and the Christmas season is officially upon us, but thanksgiving isn’t something we do once a year. We are to be thankful people always! And in light of this, I feel the need to divulge something I realized several days ago–running around for nine hours on Black Friday waiting on customers and selling to them–I am truly grateful for and enjoy my work!
“…I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
Many of us think of work as a consequence of sin; we imagine that if Adam and Eve hadn’t sinned, we’d be sitting around all day long doing–I don’t know what! But the truth of the matter is that work was there from the beginning–yet it was fulfilling and pleasurable. In Genesis 2:15 we see that, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” Only after sin entered the scene did God pronounce, “…Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you…By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground…” (Genesis 3:17-19) Yet God said even this not to harm mankind, but to help us understand the severity of sin and cause us to long for a world without it.
In Jesus, however–when we turn away from our sin filled God-defiant lives and come to Him to live in faithful obedience–God undoes many of the consequences of sin we previously experienced. This does not mean, of course, that we can disobey God with impunity and suffer no harm: to the contrary, we must never intentionally sin! What it does mean is that in His graciousness, not only do we no longer suffer the consequences of the sins we are no longer committing, but God also blesses our situations and oftentimes restores an element of the satisfaction in work that must have been present before sin tainted life on earth–something absolutely amazing!
Yes, there will always probably still remain certain aspects of any job that are less pleasant yet necessary, but overall, if we are honest, we will find that God does frequently place His people in work they genuinely enjoy! This doesn’t mean that we will have a high paying position doing nothing; we will still work–sometimes quite a lot!–but He will help us find joy in it. Of course, there may be other times we seem stuck in a job (because we need that paycheck, or are close to a decent retirement pension, or some other reason) which, for whatever reasons, is truly unpleasant for us–but even then, He can give us joy, in Him, if not primarily from our actual work. Yet at other times I think we tend to stay where we are at, not because we genuinely can’t make a change, but because we are afraid to. Yes, we need to ascertain that neither we nor the families that depend on us will starve or otherwise wrongly suffer as we look for other work that is more agreeable, and all of our moves should be prayerful and not violate any of God’s principles, but there are certainly times to make a prudent change for the better.
So, what are you grateful for ? Among the many things we all have to be genuinely grateful for to our merciful and loving God, can you honestly say you are also grateful for your work? I hope this is so!
Thank You that fullness of life is in You, and that You give it to us abundantly–including in our work! Amen.