Finding New Hope In The Workplace
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” – Genesis 1:27-28
I read a study the other day that said the average person will spend 70,000 hours at work in their lifetime. Yet most of us have felt a nagging feeling that none of it matters. At one time or another, we’ve all been tempted to despair, especially in the workplace. It’s too stressful, the boss is a jerk, it’s boring, it’s pointless, it just pays the bills, it’ll look good on my resume one day when I actually apply for my dream job, etc., etc. I don’t know about you, but 70,000 hours is way too much time to spend feeling trapped or discouraged. The Bible addresses this issue on the very first page. Let’s look to Genesis 1 for wise counsel and a new perspective on joy in the workplace.
Work Gives Us Purpose
God created humans to have dominion, to work for their food, and to earn their rest. This idea can be confusing and ever complicated when we think about our calling, or when we get too caught up in what we think we should be doing. We were designed to contribute, and to produce. Whether that’s a 9-5 or a nightshift, at a cubicle, or behind a register, work is an important aspect of who we are as humans, and as Christians.
Work Is A Privilege
So we were created to work. This is all well and good, but it doesn’t really fill you with excitement. In Genesis 1:26-28, the word “dominion” is used. Usually we associate power and authority to that word – it makes us think of kings and kingdoms. That is exactly what God has entrusted to us! He has given us a portion of his creation to rule over, and we are to take care of what he has generously given to us.
Our jobs give us opportunities to have dominion over what God has given us, from swivel chair and spreadsheets, to apron and dishes. It is a privilege to have authority over this little corner of our lives, but it is also a huge responsibility. We are given permission to reign over God’s land, as his image bearers, and we are to follow his instruction on how to rule.
Work To Do Good And Bring Order
Now the age old question, how can we possibly bring glory to God in our workplace? Looking back in Genesis, we see how God worked to create the world. The world was dark, formless and void (Genesis 1:2), but God brought light, goodness, and order. His dominion and authority blessed the world, and gave us all an example to follow.
God didn’t complain about his creation, or dread the long hours he would have to put in for things to be just right. In fact, in Genesis 1:3, it says that “God saw everything he had made, and behold, it was very good.” Be joyful in your job!
God Blesses Our Work
In Genesis 1:28, God blesses Adam and Eve. After he created the world, and gave Adam the ability and authority to rule over every living creature, God blesses mankind. God’s blessing enables us today to let God fill the void and dark spaces in our lives and in our offices, and allows us be a light to others in whatever capacity we can be. This is the true joy of work – not that we have accomplished anything, but that we can serve others and bring glory to God in any and every situation.
Hope For The Future
Maybe you’re stuck in a dead end job, or you feel like you’re just going through the motions most days. If you’re sitting in the darkness, waiting for direction and motivation at work – take heart! We have a great Hope in Jesus, and we know that there are far greater things to come in our future. Jesus gives purpose to our lives, and a joy and hope in all that we do. If you’re struggling to get through the work day, I would encourage you to focus on being present in this moment, and asking yourself how you can bring a little bit of light and hope to those around you today.