“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 20:8-11 (NIV)
We all want to be affirmed in what we do. To be recognized for our efforts. To have them confirmed and heralded as good, meaningful, and beneficial. This is one of our most primal longings. We thrive on approval. To hear the words “good job” or “well done” immediately stirs up something deep inside of us. Something that moves us to be more passionate, more diligent, more intentional. This is the power of affirmation. It helps us to see that our labors are not in vain, but that they somehow matter in this world.
However, many of us lack genuine affirmation in our work. Day in and day out we toil and labor. For eight, ten, twelve hours a day we put our hands to the proverbial plow and push with all our might. All the while, we wonder if it’s all worth it. We ask ourselves if we’re making a difference. As we look around, the work of our hands appears disparagingly trivial in the grand scheme of things. Then, subtly, the question creeps in: “Does my work matter?” Doubt and despair inch their way into our minds. We begin to waver and falter in our work. We become lost in a sea of seeming ambiguity. We feel tossed about on the waves of our own emotions and tainted perceptions of our work. The fear of insignificance overshadows us. What we need most in these dark moments is affirmation.
So, here it is. Here is our affirmation, right in God’s Word, clear as can be: Our work matters!
Our work matters because we matter. We have been created in the image of God. Our very lives are important, purposeful, and significant. God has made each of us just as we are, and He has designed us to work. This makes the work we do meaningful and worthwhile. It is an extension of who we are. We have been built to work, to move creation and culture along. This is how God set it all up. As a worker Himself, God created us to resemble Him in this way. That in and through our work we might powerfully project His image to the world around us. Therefore, regardless of what our work is, Scripture makes clear that it matters!
Over the next three weeks, we will be exploring some key theological concepts that affirm the fact that the work you do is good, right, and even necessary.