Author Richard Foster observes, “Work places us into the stream of divine action. We are ‘subcreators,’ as JRR Tolkien reminds us.” It should not be terribly surprising then that the Hebrew word for “work,” avodah, can also be translated as “worship.” When we work well for the sake of others, it’s one of the ways we worship God. We live into our design, and into the image of the One who made us, who, we’re told, also was a worker.
Reflecting on the deeper meaning of our work through the lens of faith, then, can have a profound impact on how we approach our jobs. It’s the difference between “I’ve got to go to work” and “I get to go to work,” and that’s a big difference.
A worthy exercise on this Labor Day, amidst the resting and the celebrating, would be to take a few minutes of reflection on the deeper meaning of one’s labor, and how one’s faith shapes our understanding of the value of our jobs. We ask, “How is my job creating good in the world?” or “How is my job helping fix what is broken in the world?”
I guarantee, if we take a few minutes on the Monday that is Labor Day to find compelling answers to those questions, we’ll return to our labor Tuesday with a lot more passion to get down to work, and do our work well, for our sake, for the sake of others, and for God’s sake.