A prayer on Work
Firstly, thank you, God, for giving us life and work, that you have called us to serve and to do ‘creative work’. What is work? A helpful Christian definition of work is ‘the expenditure of energy (manual or mental or both) in the service of others, which brings fulfillment to the worker, benefit to the community and glory to God’ (Stott 1984:162).
By this definition, among others, homemakers, students, church workers, volunteers cleaning up the streets or cooking meals, are working. Workincludes supplying the needs of others (Eph 4:28). It is that which glorifies God and serves our neighbours. It is where Christians can be seen living out their faith. As stated by Paul Stevens, the believer’s work is to participate in God’s work through faith (2000: 116).
Secondly, thank you for showing us a clear example on the way you work. In contrast to the gods who slept while their human slaves laboured, you have shown that the God of the Bible is a worker. While we sleep, you are at work: ‘He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep’ (Psalms 121:4). Jesus says, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working’ (John 5:17).
There is a link between God’s work (of creator, redeemer, sustainer, and consummator) and how work in the world can be placed in the various categories.
GOD THE WORKER
Art, Business, Music, Homemaking, Service roles,
Entrepreneur, IT Organisational work, Politics
Medicine, Law, Pastoring, Journalism, Media, Parenting,
Counselling, Technicians Pastoring, Education
We see in the Bible that God’s work includes being a builder (Proverbs 8:27-31), a homemaker (Luke 15:8), a healer (Mark 2:12, 17) and a teacher (Matt 7:28-29). Someone doing her work as a clerk is perhaps doing the work of a sustainer while another as trainer or lecturer is in education and could be put in the work of consummator. The question we need to ask ourselves is: In what specific ways are we doing ‘The Lord’s work’?
Help us then, O God, to work for you (you are our boss), work with you (in co-creating with you) and work in you (in communion with Jesus), and to do work more in the spirit of service.
Dr Ler Soon Lay
(Stott, J. Issues facing Christians today 1984; Stevens, P. The other six days, 2000)