Made to…Work?

Whew! It’s been one of those weeks here at Erskine. No, exams have not yet arrived…but, yes, if you were to have observed the daily doings of an Erskine student this week, you would likely have seen some sleep-wearied eyes and have heard an incoherent mumble or two regarding a deluge of tests and papers. Not that tests and papers are a bad thing…they are, of course, tools vital to the andragogical learning experience that is college. But when these glimmering opportunities to demonstrate how much knowledge we students have eagerly soaked up during the previous weeks arrive all at once…well, let’s just say that that all-too-necessary necessity, sleep, is greatly missed.

When one looks back upon such a week, however, the leisure time which one often takes for granted becomes a gratefully-welcomed blessing; and the opportunity to simply clean, rest, and hang out with friends is extraordinarily satisfying. Incidentally, the subjects of calling and work have come to mind often this week.

You see, in the midst of my writing of papers and preparing for tests, I listened to a podcast titled “What Are People For?” (which is free on iTunes, by the way) in which Briton Wood, the RUF leader at USC, examines our calling as human beings in light of Genesis 1. He made the striking point that work, in the creation account, is not a result of the Fall. Instead, Adam and Eve were given the task of tending the garden while they were in perfect communion with God! Certainly, our work and our ability to work well are today tainted by the consequences of the Fall. Even so, an understanding of work as the good purpose for which God made us ought to change the way we in which view whatever work God called us to.

I love these words of Martin Luther’s on the topic of work: “The world does not consider labor a blessing, therefore it flees and hates it, but the pious who fear the Lord, labor with a ready and cheerful heart; for they know God’s command and will, they acknowledge His calling.” A Biblically-shaped view of work, then, ought to transform our approach to our daily labor from the performance of some dreadful, obligatory drudgery which must be completed in order to reach the weekend into the excited, joyful living-out of our calling. Such an approach to work is only possible when we view work as God’s good gift, given to us that we may glorify Him through it…realizing that by doing so, we are living as He made us to live. Which, though not the easiest way to live, is unfailingly the best.