Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, July 1, 2011

The Meaning Of Work Worth Doing

In ridding ourselves of SSD [the Sacred-Secular Divide], it helps to keep the meaning of work worth doing in mind. (Not all work is worth doing. It takes work to rob banks, but that’s not work worth doing.)

Here’s a definition of “work worth doing” that I have taped above my computer display:

“Work worth doing is any expenditure of energy, mental or physical, for pay or not, that rightly manages God’s stuff (tangible or intangible), and employs my God-given abilities to benefit others (directly or indirectly), or prepares me to do so.”

God's tangible stuff includes wood, metal, cloth, and electricity. His intangible stuff includes language, numbers and ideas (all truth is God's truth). Doctors and nurses benefit people directly, while loggers benefit people indirectly. This definition applies to children, students in school, adults in the workforce, and retired folk. It applies to work at home and work outside the home; to the kitchen as well as the courthouse. [FYI, I’ll be doing a free on-line 90-minute webinar on October 18, called, “Kitchen and Courthouse: Bring Meaning To Life.” To reserve your place, go to www.highpurpose.blogspot.com. Space is limited.]

The part about “managing God’s stuff rightly” is a reference to the First Commission of Genesis 1 (to govern over God’s creation as His vice-regents), and the part about “benefitting others" is a reference to the Great Commandment of Luke 10 (to love our neighbors as ourselves).

In short, work worth doing carries out the First Commission in keeping with the Great Commandment.

Is your work worth doing? Ask yourself: 

#1. “What part of God’s stuff (tangible or intangible) am I managing, cultivating, or governing rightly?”

#2. “How does this work directly or indirectly benefit people?”

#3."If my work does not do these two things now, how is it preparing me to do so in the future?”

Any work that benefits others (directly or indirectly) while managing God’s stuff rightly is work worth doing, whether it’s building airplanes for the Boeing Company, or cooking healthy meals for one's family.

I recommend putting this definition of work on your computer display, if you govern over language or numbers, or tape it inside your lunch box, if you govern over lumber, or drive a FedEx truck.

When it comes to bringing extraordinary meaning to ordinary work, it helps to keep the meaning of work worth doing in mind. 

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