Work is a Gift
What do you do for a living? This is often one of the first questions we ask when meeting someone new. When we are in the final years of school (if not before) we start to think about what we want to do next, and plan how best to prepare for our ‘dream job’. I was very fortunate that I decided at the age of eight I was going to be a Primary School teacher, and I never really thought about, or felt drawn to any other career. This isn’t always the case, for some knowing what to do for work or finding the ‘right fit’ can be very stressful and something they struggle with for a long time.
When I had each of my children, I had time away from work. Each time I looked forward to being home and the change of pace. I had big dreams of an organised home, fantastic activities for the kids to enjoy, and opportunities for friends to enjoy a cuppa and some home-baked goodies. Some of these dreams became a reality, but most of them never eventuated due to endless piles of washing and dishes, lack of motivation and general business that young children bring. Coming from a fairly busy and ‘goal-oriented’ job, it was hard to evaluate how successful I was at this ‘mum’ thing. I began to feel I was failing, as washing wasn’t always folded and put away quickly, my kids were often grumpy and hard to please (and they didn’t give me feedback on how I could improve!) and I hadn’t caught up with friends and family as I had hoped. Feelings of resentment and longing for my other job started to creep in. I started to feel ungrateful about the work God had given me to do.
The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us at the end of chapter 3, So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?
Now, I don’t think that this means we should all love every aspect of our jobs, but I do think it is a reminder to be grateful and remember that work is a gift. It is also an opportunity to worship God, through what we do and the way we do it. We can serve, love, and point people to Jesus through our daily tasks, wherever they might be. I am by no means great at this, I need daily reminders, but I am growing in being grateful for the stages God is taking me through, and the work he provides for me to do within them.
Prayer: Dear God, I thank you for the privilege of work. Help me to be mindful of the jobs you have entrusted to me and help me to approach them with a grateful heart. I thank you that you choose to use me to love, serve and care for those around me. Help me to take your love, grace, joy and hope into each of my daily jobs. Amen.