Find a quiet place away from distractions or take a walk. Read through or listen to the following passages using The Voice version of the Bible. Genesis 2:1-3, Genesis 3:15-19, Colossians 3:23-24, Ephesians 6:6. Record or underline words or phrases that seem to stand out to you.
Labor Day in the United States is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. This long weekend begins a time when we honor the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country. If you are lucky, it means a day off for some well deserved rest.
When I was growing up, it was our last weekend at the campground as we lamented the end of our summer vacation and at the same time gathered our pencil boxes, notebooks and laid out our new clothes for the first day of school.
I was fortunate to grow up with a work ethic handed down through generations of business owners, but my view of work was somewhat limited to making a fair living to purchase what was needed for the good life. It was something I had to do, to get what I wanted to have and do what I wanted to do.
As I have grown through the years in my experience of living life with God in the here and now, the line between secular and sacred has blurred and I now see work in a different light.
I appreciate how Mark Roberts describes God’s mandate to be fruitful;
Work is one way, perhaps even the main way, we can glorify God in this life. This may sound confusing if you tend to think of glorifying God as what we do in church when we sing praises to God. No question, this counts as glorifying God. But there is so much more to glorifying God than praising God, no matter how essential and wonderful this might be.
Let me use a personal illustration. I love it when my adult children want to spend time with me. I am doubly happy when they tell me how much they love me. These are, indeed, some of the sweetest moments of my life. But I wouldn’t want Nathan and Kara to spend their whole lives doing this. My wife and I have raised them, not just to be with us and to express their love to us, but also and mainly to be responsible citizens, influential leaders, and faithful disciples of Jesus.
My children honor me when they work hard in school, when they mentor high school kids, stage manage plays, contribute to academic conversations, or write pieces that inform and inspire others. To use language I would not ordinarily use, I am glorified when Nathan and Kara work, when they work hard, when they use well their gifts, when they excel at the tasks for which they are well suited.
Genesis 1-2 reveals that God made us to work. Thus, we glorify God when we do that for which we were made. Moreover, when we work for God’s glory, when we steward well all that God has given us for his purposes, we can enjoy God, sensing the joy he feels in us as we work. To be sure, there are times when we ought not to work. And there will be times when we glorify God through the praise of our lips and the worship of our hearts. But, God has created work as a chief means for us to glorify and enjoy him. This truth can change our lives, our workplaces, and our cultures.
Even though our work life has been distorted through the great fall, Jesus is restoring the true meaning of life as we live the rhythms of work and rest. What difference it would make if each person approached their vocation and work as a chief means to glorify and enjoy God.
This Sunday we will explore God’s design of work and rest and allow it to reframe our perspective and adjust our attitude. It may very well energize everything we do when we realize our impact goes beyond a mere job. We have been created to serve. Remember, Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
Working with you,
Reflect: Perspective means everything. In what ways do you struggle to see your job or vocation as serving the Lord. How does it change your perspective when you hear that you are actually serving the Lord and not men and that there is a reward beyond merely making a living?
Encourage: How can you be an encouragement to a coworker instead of a fellow complainer or one who just gets through work to get to the weekend. What if there are “God sightings” throughout your day that you are missing due to viewing your job as something just to get through. What if your job is where you will experience God’s will most fully by serving Jesus through it?
Gather: During your Life Group or Sunday Study Group, discuss how these scriptures challenge your present understanding of your job or your perspective about work and rest. Talk about how taking a day to rest a week can affect how the rest of your work week plays out. How do you understand rest?
*Taken from Mark D. Roberts, Life for Leaders, a Devotional Resource of the DePree Leadership Center at Fuller Theological Seminary