When Does My Work Matter?
Our work matters when...
I’ve heard this sentence finished different ways. Our work matters when it helps others, or provides for our loved ones; when it fulfills our potential, or makes us happy. Are any of these statements true? Given how much time we spend working, we understandably crave assurance that our work is significant.
Pastor John Piper summarizes the goal of life, according to the Bible, as knowing and enjoying God, and reflecting his beauty.
Applying this to our work, we can finish the sentence above this way. Our work matters when it enlightens us on God’s nature, and when we enjoy him more because of it. It matters when our effort reflects the greatness of God.
If these seem like lofty goals, or too high an aspiration for your secular job, consider three ways your work can become eternally significant.
LET GOD WORK THROUGH YOU
Our work is not a means to our glorification, but God’s. He directs work, assigns tasks, and empowers us to accomplish them. In the end, our work glorifies him. Still it is easy to slip into God’s role and begin doing our own directing in our own power for our own glory. We envision ourselves helping God instead of him helping us.
But God chooses to distinguish himself by working for his children (Isaiah 64:4), because he is glorified when he accomplishes impossible things through us. This approach to work allows us to lay down our lives and watch God bring about his designs.
CREATE, ORDER AND ORGANIZE TO BRING ABOUT GOD’S DESIGN FOR LIFE
Our influence is desperately needed in businesses, governments, schools, hospitals, laboratories and even churches. God formed the earth and tasked us with continuing this work. Within human institutions, we bless our communities when we implement and model God inspired rules, standards, practices, policies and procedures. When we work with this end in mind, we continue creating good as his image bearers.
But experience tells us there are limitations to our efforts, that this fallen world resists God’s design. When our workplaces spurn our efforts, we must remember our highest call and most effective tool is love.
LOVE OTHERS, ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY DON’T DESERVE IT
Working with people creates opportunities to love. Coworkers and customers, bosses and subordinates will test our capacity. Selfish-ambition, greed, lust, hatred, and jealousy will tempt us. But when we love with the love God gave us, the world notices. Undeserved love is the hallmark of Jesus’ followers and a sign of his reality. When we love this way, we show the world the glory of God.
Your work can help you know and enjoy God more, and to show the world his beauty. When your work is done with God’s help, toward his design and with his love, it has deep purpose; it matters.