Since the fall of Man in the Garden, we have known that life would not be easy. There were a few things that God promised would be part of our sin story, and one of them is that life will be hard. The work of daily living was declared as something that would be painful, and that in order to survive we will be battling the very ground we walk on just to eat (Gen. 3:17-19). So, it is no surprise that recent headlines have made it clear that people are not eager to go to work.
Whatever the reason, and there are plenty, when we choose not to contribute to society through service, we are actually withholding something precious.
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ…For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less part of the body…” But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body (1 Corinthians 12: 12-20).
It is quite a lengthy illustration that the Apostle Paul gives here to encourage the members of the church. His hope is to encourage men and women to understand how important each gift and talent is that one brings to the Lord. Some will have a talent that is more easily displayed and therefore may receive more attention, while others may have gifts that are overlooked and yet each role is vital and without one gift the whole “body” falls apart. We understand this concept; if our little pinky finger decided it was going to give up on us, we would soon feel the loss of its function, no matter how small.
Sure, this is a Christian illustration designed for the Christian church but since God created the whole world, then we know that this concept can be applied to the world at large.
The fact is that when we lose site of what we have to offer, it will cause us to hide, or at least stand along the edge and watch others work. Hide long enough and it is easy to believe that no one sees you anyway.
What then, as Christians, is our strategy for dealing with a lack of motivation to work?
Decide you have something to give. If you’re not sure what you have to give, ask someone who loves you well. Often, those who know us well are able to identify our gifts and talents when we can’t see them.
If you’ve been hiding from work, unsure of what you have to offer, admit that to yourself and make a plan to be more available to the world around you. It’s work to go to work, but the satisfaction of contributing to the community and developing relationships with people will be the reward for the effort. Most importantly, you’re worth knowing! No one can offer what you have to offer! You’re the one and only you; the world is missing something valuable from each person who withholds themselves from others.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward (Col 3:23).”
There are many forms of “work.” Mothers are hard at work at home, many people volunteer their time, and the opportunities available that make the world go ‘round are endless. Whatever it is we choose to DO, whether glamorous or in the trenches, we know for certain there will be days when it will be hard and we also know that as Christians, every moment of our lives should be spent in a way that brings honor to the Lord. One of the ways we honor the Lord is by putting the gifts and talents that He has given us to use.
So often, society uses work to assign value. The truth is that we don’t work for man but for the Lord. He has already declared us good. (Gen. 1:31, Psalm 139:13-18) Understanding that we are good (not sinless, but valued) apart from our jobs takes the pressure off and allows us to simply explore our gifts and use them!
At the end of the day, as Christians, every day is a gift and an opportunity to be part of the world and shine our light. Each day and each person are too valuable to squander. We also have the privilege of reaching out to others and affirming their worth and encouraging them to see themselves as Christ sees them. If we can make it our mission to help people find their place in the world and know value they might just meet Jesus through that experience if they don’t already know Him; at the very least, more people will step out of the shadows and we might be able to lead them into the light.
You’re hired. You can start today!