I've been thinking a lot about work. Everyone works. Marriage takes work. Some people are lazy and don't work, while other can't find work. To be healthy we need to work out. We work to play, and in our society to get enough time to play you often need to work to get there. No matter how its phrased, work seems like a four letter word.
My own experiances with employment (a form of 'work') have generally been difficult. I've been faced with challenging jobs; like daily filling a truck with 2" x 4" lumber, alone. I once drove a brand new ($500,000+) bus in the middle of the night, on a slick mud road for 90 kilometers, hoping I'd make it to my desination on time and in one piece. I've dealt with difficult people who want to lay hands on me and pray for my demons while at work, and bosses who have tried getting my approval to practice unethical buisness. I've had managers dehumanize me and co-workers scream and swear at me. Plus, in this economy just staying employed is tough.
I've also done physical work. As far back as I can remember I helped around the house- doing our household laundry, cleaning the house, and working in the garden with my mom and older sisters- our quarter acre garden! Working out has always been a challenge to me, and at some points in my life an impossibility- but that was more what I thought about myself, then what was real.
So what is real? As I think about it, I think work actually really means: persistance, patience, integrity, intelligence, strength, service, perseverance, wisdom, and worship. I think really, work is a gift. I'm sure it doesn't come naturally to me, and I'll be the first to vouch for my illhearted attempts at convincing myself, family, friends and employers that I always work well. For me, work becomes a good word when I realize that I am only here because of God's love. Thinking about it, really thinking about my depravity and redemption is humbling.
I think only the most humble people actually understand work. I think a lot about my Papa and my sweet Mum. When we were children they both worked, opposite shifts. They grew a big garden to feed us, and Papa spent hours sorting metal to sell as scrap just to make ends meet. Meanwhile, our mom worked almost 30 years in retail to care for us. Fall, Winter and Spring you'd often find Papa looking for free wood all over the city, just to keep us warm- they've worked harder than any two people I've met, yet I've NEVER heard either of them complain. I never heard them feel bad for themselves, wishing they had a better life, or were trained in something different.
The key, was that whatever work they were given to do, they did it joyfully, with gratitude.
If its working out, working to pay the bills, working out plans, or working toward a goal. Gratitude, giving thanks to God is key.