What would you do if you could do anything you wanted? Take a nap? Watch a movie? Eat ice cream out of the carton? I doubt the first thing I would do would be clean my attic. That would be work. And work, too often, has negative connotations.
But work serves a good purpose. When God created the world, he gave us humans the responsibility to keep things in order. That takes work. So work is sacred, ordained by God to do good to ourselves and others.
With the entrance of sin into the world, God added a challenging aspect to work. He said, “Through painful toil you will eat food from (the earth) . . . . It will produce thorns and thistles . . . .”
Challenging, yes, but I’d like to dwell on the goodness of work because work is good for us.
We tidy our homes to create a safe environment for our families. If we leave books or boots in the middle of the floor, we trip over them. If we don’t wash our dishes, we create a smelly mess. If our house is so messy we refuse to invite people in, we isolate ourselves.
And there is great blessing in insisting all family members pitch in. You know that feeling of satisfaction you get when you hang up the mop? Well, we want our kids to feel that way too.
I remember helping my older sisters wash dishes. I was much younger and surely wasn’t much “help,” but hanging around, listening to their chatter and now and then wiping dry a dish, made me feel like I belonged, like I contributed to caring for our family.
Work in our workplaces allows us to pay the bills. And our work there contributes to a healthy society. Businesses provide oversight. Stores provide merchandise. Fast food places provide Blizzards and Frosties and all that good stuff. All of it essential to create comfortable lives for people.
Working in our community also promotes a healthy society. Charities need supporters and volunteers. Schools need tutors and cookie bakers. Churches need teachers and helpers to guide people to live by biblical principles. Nursing homes need visitors. There’s no end to the good we can do by serving others.
My grandson Daniel recently served as a captain for Penn State’s “Thon,” a fundraiser for which participants dance for 46 hours. They raised more than $10 million for children’s cancer research. That’s a worthwhile reward for their work!
The above photo represents the work someone from Camp Allegheny did to create a table centerpiece for our “If Our Closets Could Talk” retreat. The skirt is made of pleated magazine pages. And imagine the work needed to crochet the doily, to letter “Clothe yourself with kindness” onto the glove.
But that retreat was a special blessing in our lives and we hope in the lives of the women who attended. And that table mannequin was just one small part of a huge but very worthwhile retreat effort.
Work is also necessary for our own welfare. It’s “work” to floss our teeth, to bathe and curl or straighten our hair. Yet if we don’t take care of ourselves, someone else will have to.
So I encourage you to appreciate the opportunities God gives you to share in caring for His creation—in the home, in the workplace, in the community. Don’t spend time weaseling out of what He calls you to do.
As spring looms (soon, please), I want to eliminate clutter by taking “stuff” to our church’s rummage sale. I want to clean the dust and grime of winter from behind chairs. I want to do more than what Hyacinth says in one of our skits: “Make it look good on the outside and pray no one peeks into the closets.” I want to make my home a place that shows order and peace—even behind closed doors.
Face the work God sets before you with aplomb and commitment to do the best job you can. You are God’s right-hand woman or man, and He’s depending on you to complete what He began in creation.