In Chapter 1 of Every Good Endeavor, Timothy Keller presents the striking truth that work was a part of Paradise. As Ben Witherington states in Work: A Kingdom Perspective on Labor: “It is perfectly clear that God’s good plan always included human beings working, or, more specifically, living in a constant cycle of work and rest.” This fact may be startling, as people often tend to think of work as a necessary evil or even punishment.
Work is as significant a human need as food, rest, friendship, etc. Work is food for our soul. Pastor Keller poignantly describes the devastating effects of job loss:
“Without meaningful work we sense significant inner loss and emptiness. People who are cut off from work because of physical or other reasons quickly discover how much they need work to thrive emotionally, physically, and spiritually.”
Our ministry downsizing or career loss is so deeply disturbing because we were designed for work. While our salary is needed for material survival, work itself is vital for us to survive and live fully human lives. Author Dorothy Sayers aptly defines the Christian understanding of work:
“(It) is that work is not, primarily, a thing that one does to live, but a thing one lives to do. It is, or should be, the full expression of the worker’s faculties . . . the medium in which he offers himself to God.”
Tomorrow’s blog: “Work is liberating”