Statistics say a majority of people hate their jobs. Most see daily work as something that just “has to be done.” After all, there are bills to pay, kids to feed, school loans to pay off, and hopefully a few dollars left over to do some fun stuff from time to time.
This is life. The rat race. Days of mostly meaningless work sprinkled with a few occasional glimpses of happiness here and there if we’re lucky.
Work is boring. Work is hard. Work is meaningless. Work is drudgery.
Or perhaps you find yourself more in this camp. Your work makes you feel good about your place in the social hierarchy. Maybe it pays you big dollars and gives you leverage to mute many of the fears others hear more loudly.
Work is status. Work is identity. Work is power. Work is security.
How about you? How would you finish that sentence? Work is _______________.
Have you ever wondered how God might fill in that blank?
There is a fascinating Hebrew word in the Old Testament that paints a much more beautiful picture of this thing we call work:
Avodah is the Old Testament Hebrew word for work.
Yep, this one word actually means all three things simultaneously. Avodah paints a beautiful word picture of God’s intertwined intent for our everyday work.
In Psalm 104, avodah means work:
“Then man goes out to his work (avodah), to his labor until evening.”
– Psalm 104:23
In Exodus 8, the same word is used for worship:
“This is what the LORD says: Let my people go, so that they may worship (avodah) me.”
– Exodus 8:1
In Joshua 24, it means service:
“But as for me and my household, we will serve (avodah) the Lord.”
For those redeemed by the Gospel, work is not our identity nor is it just some horrific punishment for man’s sin. Work is worship! Work is service! Work is a simultaneous opportunity for us to provide for our families while giving glory to God and loving our fellow man.
How would it change the way you feel when the alarm clock goes off tomorrow morning if you saw your work this way?
This article was originally posted at The Stone Table, a resourcing community for faith, work, and missions.