Is Work a 4-Letter Word?

By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.  (Genesis 3:19)  Then people go off to their work, where they labor until evening. (Psalm 104:23)

Despite the 1968 British film Work Is A Four-Letter Word, and the song by the same name sung by the Smiths in the 1980’s, and even the obvious number of letters in the actual word, work should not be looked at as profane, vulgar or offensive.

While the sign above is intended to be comical, it really isn’t.  Why do we look at work as something to avoid at all costs?  People seem to work simply to get to weekends, vacations, and retirement.  I’ve worked as an administrator, teacher, youth pastor, coach, paper-mill worker, tool shipper, cook, appraisal researcher, insurance salesman, financial advisor, strawberry picker, summer camp advisor, jack-hammer operator, house painter, roofer, artist and blogger (and that’s only what I can remember).  While I didn’t love everything about each of those jobs, I did get a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when I finished each day on the job.  And it provided something to give back to God,  and enough to put groceries on the table, a roof over our heads, clothing to keep us warm, and sometimes a little extra.  Now I’m retired and finding myself short of time to do all the work I realize God has given me to do.

So what are we really supposed to be doing while waiting for Jesus’ return?  First, we are to be watching for Him.  Second, we should be ready to go.  Third, we should be striving to become more like Jesus Christ each day.  Fourth, we should be eagerly anticipating His return.  And, finally, we should be working–at whatever He has given into our hand to do.  We all work for somebody.  Whether we are doctors, lawyers, politicians, teachers, preachers, economists, bankers, healthcare workers, realtors, salesmen, office workers, fast food workers or manual laborers–you name it, we have someone above us to please or satisfy.  And those bosses probably have bosses over them–or stockholders to answer to.  The key for us to remember is that, eventually, the final boss over everyone ends up being Jesus.  Nothing gets done without His say-so.  And If He’s not pleased with our work, then probably no one is.

…In all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.  Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.…(Colossians 34:22-24)

For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.  For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.  Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.  (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12)  (Sounds like a quick solution to the rampant misuse by some of the welfare system and now by some of the new Obama-care universal health care system.)

So it seems pretty basic to me…work is a 4-letter word.  Kind of like love and obey.  And I like this sign much better.




4 thoughts on “Is Work a 4-Letter Word?

  1. Ken, I used to get so concerned about what job I had and whether or not I should take job A or job B and what was the Lord’s will in the matter. The older I get, the more I realize it’s not so much about what work I do, but the kind of work I do on any particular job. I think the Lord is more concerned with my Christlikeness on the job than He is with what my actual job is. Know what I mean?

    Fully agree with you–work is indeed a wonderful thing, especially when we understand who we’re working for.


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