Jesus and the Meaning of Work

the meaning of work Sep 30, 2019

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7)

In this three week series, I have been making the case that the core reason why nearly 9 out of every 10 people are unhappy at work is that they have an unbiblical view of the meaning of work, either expecting too little meaning from their work or too much.

As we have seen, the Bible clearly disqualifies both of the extreme ends of this spectrum, which leaves us with this question: What does the Bible point to as the true meaning of work? How can we find meaning and joy in our work without looking to our careers for ultimate meaning and self worth? The answer is found in the life of Jesus Christ.

The Bible gives us very little information about what Jesus was doing between the ages of twelve and thirty. One of the few things we do know is that he worked as a carpenter (see Mark 6:3). This is remarkable! The only thing the Bible tells us about what Jesus was doing for more than half of His life was revealing the character of his working, creative Father. God could have chosen for Jesus to grow-up as a priest or a Pharisee. But instead, he chose for Jesus to grow up working to create new things, much like you and I do today. In this way, Jesus—the personification of God—demonstrated what the Father showed us at the very beginning of time: the inherent goodness and meaning of work.

But while Jesus clearly celebrated the meaning of work, he also made clear that only one thing can provide our lives with ultimate meaning, worth, and satisfaction: Him. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

You and I are not what we say we do for a living. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are adopted sons and daughters of the King. It is only when we can rest in that truth that we can stop our search for meaning in work and other things. It is then and only then that we, like Jesus, can view our work for what God intended it to be: a very good expression of worship, a means of glorifying God, and a vehicle for loving our neighbors as ourselves.


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