Despite the notion of work being a result of the world’s brokenness, work is a good task given to both Adam and Eve prior to sin. Although the fall brings painful suffering as a companion to work, there is a purpose in work. Work is a part of being human. God commanded Adam to work and keep the garden, to have dominion, to subdue the earth, and to be fruitful (Genesis 1:28; 2:15). The joy of a job well done is found in loving God and working as a human was made to.
Joy in Accomplishing
Whether looking at a freshly cut lawn, a completed painting, or a school project you have been working on for months, it is satisfying when effort brings a profitable outcome. Seeing what you accomplish and create brings joy because God created us to have dominion and be fruitful. This means producing something and taking care of this world as rulers on God’s behalf. Even Atheists get pleasure from their toil as a part of the common grace God gives to every person (Ecclesiastes 3:9-13). On the other side, the dullness of being lazy has its effect on you too. This is not a foreign observation but is highlighted in the book of Proverbs: The lazy do not produce anything (13:4), are careless and impoverished (24:30-31), and are full of excuses and arrogance (26:13-16). When you depart from work, you are departing from a God-given purpose for humanity.
Joys of Serving Others
Work also brings joy when working to serve others. Think of ways you can serve friends, family, your church, and even your enemies (Matthew 5:43-48;1 Peter 4:10-11). Serving others shows our distinction as Christ-followers who are blessed, full of joy, by giving in a world of self-centeredness (Acts 20:35). Loving your neighbor flows into your work life as well. Your co-workers are one of the closest avenues to display a servant’s heart that mirrors Christ (Matthew 20:28; Philippians 2:1-11). This is joyous because we share in the work for Christ, by making Him known to a world that does not know Him (Matthew 5:13-16).
Joy by Working Unto the Lord
For the Christian, life revolves around God and not the other way around (Colossians 1:16-17). He is the main source of joy. He creates everything good and joyous. The joys of work come from Him and should be directed toward Him (Psalms 16:11; James 1:17). Work is another means of enjoying God. Joy in work is experienced clearly when the ultimate fulfillment is not in the work itself; but the joy is in the One the work is for. Work for God because He has created humanity for that purpose and for Himself (Isaiah 43). With God, work is never pointless, but is purposeful. Purposeful work motivates hard work with a joy from the abundance of what He has given.
In conclusion, Paul directs the church in Colossae to the posture their heart and the direction of their work. He says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” (Colossians 3:23). All your work should be done well and directed towards God, for He is the ultimate source of joy in work. May you strive to serve God and others in your occupation by working well and being joyful.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.