Thursday, November 25, 2021

"My" Work

Thanksgiving plans? Well, I don't really have any. Our family dinner is tomorrow at one of my kid's homes. This morning I was signed up to do a Turkey Trot in Raleigh but my body told me it didn't exactly want to get up at 5:00 am and run in 30-degree temps, so I slept in. I may go for a run later today if things warm up. 

One thing I will definitely thank God for today is my work. I love the work I do immensely. Of course, work cannot provide ultimate fulfillment. I am God's child. In that fact lies my identity. But no task that glorifies him, no matter how menial, is to be despised.

Jesus proved this when he washed his disciples' feet. There need be no division between Mary and Martha, between the contemplative and the active life. 

My running is as much an opportunity for devotion as is my academic study of the text. Even my "creative" work belongs first and foremost to God, who grants the inspiration. "God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us" (1 Cor. 12:6). My own productivity (be it agricultural or intellectual) is merely a response to God's creative work in me.

One test of our work is how it enhances or undermines the glory of God. Good work is always his creative work in us. He delights in using fragile pots of clay because "this makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves" (2 Cor. 4:7). "My work" is therefore an oxymoron. The paradox is that we choose to take credit for what we think we have done, and this attitude always breeds disastrous results. 

This view of work is not without its mystery, of course, but it's not the mystery of why God would have us work. The mystery is how we, as frail and  fallen human beings, can participate in the work of God on this earth. 

And so, on this Thanksgiving Day 2021, I rejoice in my Savior, who has given me work to do. I may plant and water, but only he can make things grow. Glory to God.