Probably best sums up the week – Lei Garden at Chjimes, one soupy pork dumpling per staffing officer. Laptop on my lap, furiously responding to an email that should have been sent out a day ago. A heart that should be filled with gratitude at the lovely private room, but is tired, and fearful of the next assignment.
I realise at the end of this work week that I need to reframe the way I view work. To know that work has dignity, necessity, and is a responsibility of His people. All work is delegated by God and designed for our human good and for His glory. To know that some will slave away in banks (even with a paycheck), others in their law firms over files, others as civil servants slaving away on submissions and slide decks and meetings (even with a good bonus). And God is not particularly concerned about where I am slaving away, just that I am doing it to please Him.
yet, there is a real tension, isn’t there? ‘cursed is the ground because of you (Adam), through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. it will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.’ Work is painful, and it will frustrate. And ultimately, it becomes futile, for we will labour until ‘you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return’ (Genesis 3:19).
Perhaps my biggest problem is the middle-class gullibility about work which drives many of my peers into changing jobs ad nauseum. Desperate to find fulfilment and to realise potential in my work today. Yet He never intended us to fulfil our potential through work. Nor did He ever intend us to find ultimate satisfaction in work. He will instead deliberately frustrate our work.
I love that the word ‘career’ was taken from the medieval French word which referred to running at full speed on a racecourse. I’m told to pursue my career, as though this is what will really last at work. But this concept of advancement has no biblical warrant. The rung I reach or the title i have achieved will have no relevance at all when we meet Jesus for His appraisal at the end of life.
I have let the annual appraisal, the inspection, the 360-degree assessment define me. Easily forgetting the higher goal of work – to please God, and with the eyes fixed on Christ, to live differently in the workplace.