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How My Concept of

How My Concept of "Work" Changed from "Evil" to "Good"

Is “Work” a 4-letter word? 

The short answer to the question is, “Yes.”

Early on in my career I began to wrestle with how to integrate my weekday working life and my spiritual life. Like many, I had been taught that there was sacred work, the work of pastors and missionaries, and there was secular work, the work of all the rest of us.

I was convinced that I was not to be a full-time sacred worker. However, it felt like I was then constrained to a lower class of contribution to the growing of God's kingdom. There was little to no intrinsic value to what I did the majority of my time.

And that felt wrong to me.

This disconnected feeling led me to see work as a necessary evil, a result of the fall, with the only hope being an eternity in heaven where there was no more work. I focused all my energy on being a good husband and father and growing in my career, as measured by increasing income, with the hope to retire early and be free to fully engage in the “important” work of God on this earth.

Fast forward 30 years, over periods of career success and abject failure, starting 5 different business ventures with limited success, finally finding myself selling my latest business for enough cash to cover the debt that was threatening me with personal bankruptcy.

Then I took a survival job to recover physically, mentally, and financially. My grand vision of retiring early and wealthy, ready and equipped to start to do God's work, shattered on the rocks of work in a fallen world. 

At that time, I saw work as a 4-letter word: E-V-I-L.

Then I was introduced to IDEAS, the organization for which I now work. The more I learned about IDEAS, the more I began to believe "THESE ARE MY PEOPLE." 

IDEAS is a community of Christian professionals who integrate their profession and God's kingdom work. I was intrigued to learn more, to dig in with this community and find a path to a more hopeful vision of work.

God changed my assignment from a place of healing from burnout to going back into the work arena. Back into business, but business for God's glory, not mine.

Business to restore hope in oppressed communities around the world. 

I was beginning to see work as another 4-letter word: H-O-P-E.

God did his part of creation, setting the stage for life to flourish on this earth, but he also left room for the pinnacle of his creation, humankind, to join him and play a vital part in bringing all of creation to its completed state. Therein lies my purpose, and your purpose, to work the ground of this created earth to bring to fulfillment God's full and complete and perfect creation.

Work was created as: G-O-O-D.

So, what happened? Why do the majority of people, regardless of their faith, see work as evil, something we do to pay for the necessities of life with a little left over to spend on having fun?  

The fall did not end God's original plan of creation. God is constantly working to redeem the brokenness in the world: broken relationships with God, ourselves, others, and the rest of creation. God is a working God and continues to work in this world until he brings complete redemption.

God's original invitation to humankind to join him in his work remains. Today and tomorrow, we are each invited to join God in his work. We can find real purpose in our work when we join with God in his work. 

We are made to honor him though our work.

Work is L-I-F-E.

About the Author: Mike is the IDEAS Director of Sector Advocacy and Business Sector Advocate. He has over 30 years business experience, primarily IT related, with experience in financial reporting and business process improvement. Enjoy other blogs by Mike, such as 8 Tips for Covid Travel.