— by J.D. Greear
Take a moment to read the article above by The Atlantic.
This article is one of those where someone has a brilliant insight the Bible teaches as a core principle: the futility of making work an idol. However, the Bible’s presentation is more complete—man shall not live by work alone, but man was made for work. An idol is a good thing that only becomes a bad thing when it becomes a God thing. Realizing it is insufficient as a God doesn’t mean it is no longer good, however. The ideal society is not, as the author seems to indicate, where we spend our time trying to figure out what to do with our leisure and where the poor get welfare with no work required. God created us for work. God put man in the Garden to work it, not just lounge in it, which is why life without meaningful employment will in most cases be unsatisfying as well. Work, as the author indicates, makes a terrible idol. But so does leisure.
The author is correct that removing work’s “idol” status will also help us reframe the discussion of whether we should expect to “find our passion” at work: “Do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” This has produced a generation of dissatisfied idealists who can’t understand why they don’t spring out of bed each morning excited to get to the office. The Bible explains that this is the result of the curse—our work would become toil. Thus, I should expect that even in fulfilling, life-giving work, there will be days I not only feel unfulfilled, but downright weary. This was a great line: “The modern labor force evolved to serve the needs of consumers and capitalists, not to satisfy tens of millions of people seeking transcendence at the office.”
See also this article—an interesting discussion on why our passions are developed over time, not fixed from birth. Those who understand this end up finding more meaning in their work.
(Thanks to Nicky Loh at REUTERS for the cover photo.)