“I hate my 6th period!” I had NEVER heard my husband, Mike, talk like this out the 13 years he taught high school students. All throughout the school year, he would come home with stories of how unruly, disrespectful, unmotivated these group of 9th graders were that filled his last class period of the day. The last week of school leading up to the summer, was just about all he could take. “…I’m telling you babe, I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be teaching”.
If I’m honest, I’ve had the same feelings about the places I have worked, and maybe you have too. They don’t pay me enough, my department is understaffed and the workload is too heavy, there’s not enough work hour flexibility, the system is outdated, my supervisor is not open to more effective and efficient ways of doing things, management is disorganized and reactive.
Wherever and however we spend our days, work can be burdensome. But have you ever thought, we are co-laborers with God. Our true employer is God and we are coworkers of Him.
From God’s first appearance in scripture onward, we learn that He is a worker. From Genesis chapters 1 & 2, we see God at work as a strategic planner, designer, civil engineer, land developer, project manager, artist, and more. God’s work did not stop with the origination of the world. Moment by moment He continues to labor by providing for and sustaining His creation:
You alone are the Lord. You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars. You made the earth and the seas and everything in them. You preserve them all, and the angels of heaven worship you. Nehemiah 9:6
The eyes of all look to you in hope; you give them their food as they need it. When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing. Psalms 145:15-16
You care for people and animals alike, O Lord. Psalms 36:6
One night my kids and I binged watched the Netflix series, The Hunt. It was amazing to see the footage of blue whales, sharks, sea lions, and other predators display these crazy skills required to find and catch food in the Earth’s oceans. God was behind the scenes providing food for those sea animals and He does the same for mankind. When you walk into HEB to the meat and seafood section or Sprout’s produce aisle, the food you place in your basket was provided by God. He is at work behind the scenes extending His hand to satisfy our hunger and quench our thirst.
Likewise, God decided in His pursuits of providing and sustaining His creation, He would enlist us for hire. God created us “in His image” (Genesis 1:26,27), so just as He works, He has created us to work. Genesis even says that God gives human beings authority over His creation as managers. Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Genesis 1:28 When we use the abilities He gives us, we become His partner in whatever we do. The zoologist that encouraged viewers at the end of the episode from The Hunt to partner in preserving the lives of certain animals near extinction works to sustain God’s creation. The HEB truck driver that loads produce from the distribution warehouse to deliver to the store works to sustain God’s creation. The mechanic that fixed your car AC unit so you could drive it in this 95 degree summer weather works to sustain God’s creation. Our jobs matter to Him because they accomplish His purpose.
Despite popular belief, Christianity makes no distinction between “sacred” and “secular” work. God uses people like pastors and missionaries to meet spiritual and personal needs, but they are not the only people doing “God’s work”. God cares about people’s physical, emotional, intellectual, and other needs. In His awesomeness, He uses physician and medical assistants to meet health needs, retailers to distribute clothing items and other essentials, parents to nurture children, lawyers to promote justice, and teachers and professors to provide knowledge base to develop skill level in those pursuing their calling. Accomplishing what God wants done in the world takes all kinds of skills and all kinds of people. We are employed by Him!! He sees all legitimate work as valuable and takes note how each one of us does our part to manage the earth.
Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you buy. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. Colossians 3:22-24
So the next time you want to tell them to take this job and shove it, remember, God gains honor and pleasure through us partnering with Him to sustain his creation, providing for His creatures, and working to bring people into a saving relationship with Him.
– by Marsha Crutchfield