May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands. (Psalm 90:17)
Work and favor do not seem to go hand in hand. Labor Day and freedom from work, now that sounds like favor!
Not it God’s sight! Our work is a gift from heaven. When we work—whether missionary work, church work, serving professions, or managing a warehouse; we are living our God’s call on our lives. We are demonstrating that we are formed in the image of God. The first image God shows us of Himself is of a worker—when He created the world and pronounced it good.
We can even go as far to say that our work is part of our worship experience. Work is our weekly opportunity to live out what we take in from our daily reading in the word and our weekly worship experiences. We work so that we can live out the Gospel in our lives by caring for the poor, supporting the full-time Christian workers like missionaries and pastors, and caring for our own families. Our work should be a reflection of our relationship with God even in workplaces that have strict policies against talking about God. Our workplaces become a place of worship when we focus on God’s purposes for using us to light up the world.
Work becomes an idol when we live for the reward of our boss or look to our pay stub to gain a sense of our value. We get confused when we work for compensation or approval of man. When we work for the Lord’s reward we feel challenged to do the things that we don’t want to do. We lament to God and find His strength to carry out unreasonable requests at work. We see irritating coworkers as challenges to develop perseverance, patience and love.
We welcome Labor Day Holiday as an opportunity to sleep in and reflect on our place in the world. We have time for fun or organizing or resting. Rest is part of the rhythm God gave us about work right from the beginning (Genesis 2:1-4).
God did not create the garden in Eden until there was a man to work that garden (Genesis 2:5). He created us to become the managers of His creation (Genesis 1:27). God provided us the food in the garden, and then he invited us to work in sharing with His work. Mark Roberts points out that before the fall God did not say: “Go to church;” rather He said, “Go to work”.[*] Our work is our worship. Our work is an opportunity to rely on God for the wisdom to do our work and the love to respond to our co-workers.
May the Lord establish the work of your hands—may you see the favor of the Lord in your work!
[*] Mark Roberts, Labor Day Retreat 2012, Laity Lodge, Leakey, Texas