Christianity has, at the core of it, recognized the need for all people to work. It is helpful to remember that God ordained work before the fall of man. Adam was created, given a job, and prudency to do right from the beginning. God gave him a commission to till the ground and to keep the garden, also to name the animals. God gave man a bountiful and beautiful earth filled with wonderful resources to care for, have dominion over and exploit. We have been using up the resources rapidly throughout all the centuries and more than ever, people are beginning to question the inconformity of work. They say people go out in the morning because they see others do the same. And from here the argument grows.
Scholars argue whether or not work really is a curse. If it is, why then do we work? Many think of work as a kind of curse, a severe affliction (as the Greeks), something causing misery that has been imposed upon man – perhaps because of the “Fall” in Genesis. People of the ancient and medieval thought of work as a curse, and that a good living is innate and therefore once you are not born a slave there is no need to work. This same thinking lingers today but in a whole different dynamics. Look around and you will notice: we are cursed with welfare abusers who take contracts from the government with no thought of working on their part. They are perfectly able to work, but they will do no such thing.
Notice in the story of the church in Thessalonians, Apostle Paul did not say what was causing the Thessalonians to stop working, but he faces the fact of it. Historians, however, do not feel that such a condition was obtained in the early Church, but that may have been the case in this pioneer church in Thessalonica. At any strata there are still some people who choose not to work but rather chosen to live off the good will and kindness of others.
In any case, i think work is not a curse because…
- Work Socializes
It is very helpful to remember that the great ‘men’ of God in history who taught us all the marvelous truths through their lives and writings were not isolated from the ordinary working world, but were involved in it. By virtue of their works, they were required to socialize. If work socializes, people can, inescapably receive from a society-at-work: comfort, use and protection.
- Work is Accomplishing Something
What is it about work that the Apostle Paul (and the Lord himself) sees as so valuable that he would take the time to deal with it? It is becoming clear from this that work is divinely intended to give us a sense of self-worth. When you are working, you feel like you are accomplishing something. Besides when you are laid off and unable to work, you feel out of sorts and unable to function as you were intended. It is really a testimony to the fact that God made us to work.
- Work Commands Reputation
Naturally, good things have a way of showing themselves. An industrious man will always have his honor in the society. And the thing about the honor in work is that is not required but given. It commands respect by its own virtue. Honor should be given not required. We don’t impress on people to respect us because of the kind of work we do. Rather, we allow nature to play its course. Insofar as we work genuinely; the credit of our work will come to us without panic.
- Work Rekindles our Faith and Hope in Our Master
All that matters for the servant/apprentice in his relationship with his master is that warm approving glance of appreciation from his master. So it is with us and God when we do an eternal work. Our work must come out from an inner sense of call, knowing that our work as Christians is for God’s glory and not man’s… This rekindles faith and brings about comfort and hope in times of fair trials. Believers must regard one thing only: how the Master (God) regards their work and not what people say.
- Work is a Seed of Honor
The happiness of a posterity is as a result of the seed of hard work cultivated by an ancestor years before their existence. This seed germinates, bears the fruit of perseverance – gives hope and builds character which never fails; and therefrom grows honor for posterity. And at the end of the day, they glow as if they were born so. When our work is selflessly done with discipline, it is “transformative in the healing of the soul and in building of honor” says Clement of Alexandria.
- Work is a Reminder of our Indebtedness to God
St. Basil was of the view that we acquire a recollected spirit – when in every action we beg God the success of our work and satisfy our debt of gratitude to Him who gave us the power to do the work, and when, as has been said, we keep before our minds the aim of pleasing Him. The mystery of living reminds us of our nothingness before God, without whom we are beingless. Without His breath of life we cannot work. In the process of reciprocating our indebtedness to God, we tend to pray. In the thick of our work can we fulfill the duty of prayer, giving thanks to Him who has granted strength to our feeble hands for performing our tasks and cleverness to our minds for acquiring knowledge, and for having provided the materials for that which is in the instruments we use and that which forms the matters of the art in which we may be engaged, praying that the work of our hands may be directed toward its goal, the good pleasure of God.
- We Work Because an Idle Man is the Devil’s Workshop
Work could be a clamp for repressing sinful, fleshly desires, and the physical exertion in work is beneficial for bringing the body into subjection. This is so true! Once you have nothing doing, the proclivity to compromise is very likely. But once we engage our hands in doing something, fix our mind to a task, no matter how demeaning we think it might look, such activity engages the mind in action and frees one from the paralysis of idleness.
- Work is the Fulfillment of the Greatest Commandment
Work fulfills one of the two greatest commandments: to love thy neighbor, (cf. Matt. 22: 37- 40). You may ask “how”. Most work is done out of genuine love. “Once we are generous in spirit, we fulfill this second greatest command”, says St. Basil. If we obey the instruction of Apostle Paul to work, we cultivate the discipline to give benevolently, and share in the liberation of poverty by helping the needy among us.
- We are to Work for God’s Purpose
If our work, fundamentally, is for God, it is essential to know the purposes He has in mind. The redeemed man is freed to pursue the objectives of the Father in his work. A Christian is not at liberty to limit the use of his gifts to providing for himself alone, but needs to use all he has been given in ability, opportunity, and natural resources for all the objectives God has for the world through fulfilling the Great Commission Workers therefore need to consider whether their operations help others meet their own needs, and achieve the Great Commission. This is the true purpose of God for us as we marshal and utilize the earth and its operations for His purpose.
- Work can Help You Discover Purpose
Before Christ gave up the ghost, He was contented because He had glorified His Father. He glorified the Father simply by accomplishing His work. John 17:4 says, “I have glorified thee on the earth; I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do (KJV)”. How can we glorify God without finishing the work He gave us? Christ glorified God through completing His work. Your purpose may only be realized through your work. Until we discover our work and the area of service we are called to, we might not yet have glorified Him. This Scripture clearly shows that we praise God through our works, and our works, when utilized as intended, will fulfill purpose.