Many people think of work as a “necessary evil.” It’s a means to an end, a way to survive, a mode to make money, put food on the table, or buy goods for our family. In this frame of mind, work becomes drudgery and it loses its intrinsic dignity, creativity, and divinity. We simply carve it down to a 9-5 slog.
But, when we realize all work, as it was created, is (note I did not say, “can be”) divine. All work, whether it’s cleaning floors, building a wall, transacting a business deal, or conducting brain surgery is divine, regardless of how secular it appears.
The minister and author, Phillip Jensen described it like this, “If God came into the world, what would he be like? For the ancient Greeks, he might have been a philosopher-king. The ancient Romans might have looked for a just and noble statesman. But how does the God of Hebrews come into the world? As a carpenter.”
This is important for many reasons. God’s incarnation as man is not as a King of Kings (in the literal sense), but as a working man, a man of the people. “No task is too small a vessel to hold the immense dignity of work given by God. Simple physical labor is God’s work no less than the formulation of theological truth.”
In Chapter Three of this Summer’s reading selection, “Every Good Endeavor,” Timothy Keller puts it this way, “Work has dignity because it is something that God does and because we do it in God’s place, as His representatives.” Remember, God created the heavens and earth, the animals, the flora, and then he created humans to “subdue” it. He worked as an example and then called us to continue his work. God did not just “think” things into being, but actually created things from scratch. He labored over the Universe and then handed over the mantle for us to keep it up.
What does this all mean? No matter what you do, you have an immense capacity and responsibility to do your work in a divine manner. Whether you’re flipping burgers or flipping real estate deals, your work is God’s work. Doesn’t that change the very nature of what you do and how you do it?