May God continue to bless you and your loved ones as we celebrate Labor Day! This last long weekend of the summer brings to mind images of cookouts and softball, beaches and parks, and general thoughts of rest and relaxation. Leisure is an important dimension of holistic health, but so also is work. This month I would like to consider several aspects of healthy labor.
Work has been given to us as a gift from God.
This may not be the attitude we often have towards work, but it is what scripture reflects. The book of Genesis reflects man’s work as caring for the creation, and in Ecclesiastes 5:18, 19 the author describes meaningful work as those activities which are grounded in love for God. Apart from our relationship to God, it would seem that no work would really satisfy. When we consider work, we are talking about all of our efforts directed towards the accomplishment of something. This can take place inside or outside of the home, with or without a specific salary.
Healthy work has God at its center.
We all spend time working, but these efforts can seem to be frustrating and stressful. If we can keep God at the center of our efforts, we can experience more joy in our work. In Colossians, Paul encourages us with these words, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord, and not for men.” Healthy work has God at the center, provides a useful service for the created world, and is in harmony with the other dimensions of our life.
Stress in the workplace is a major aspect of life in this modern age. In spite of our best efforts, work can seem to be more of a curse that a blessing. Having any measure of success at work seems to require us to live as workaholics. How can we square our work lives with Christian principles?
First, we need to recognize the value and purpose of work. We work to give glory to God, provide for our families, and provide useful service for the rest of creation.
Second, we can recognize when we are experiencing work related stress, and attempt to understand the cause and realistic solutions. We need to direct our efforts towards those aspects of work over which we have some control.
Third, we can ‘work’ towards having balance between our physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions as we live our lives as God’s children. May God bless all our work.
Contact Carole Jacobson at [email protected]