Work, Identity and Pain
God created work before the fall of man. He put Adam and Eve in The Garden of Eden and told them to get busy. He knew that we needed something to do with our time and energy. We would want accomplishments and the rubbing of personal foibles against our neighbors foibles. This would mature us. Work was created to be a life-giving force in Man's world.
God's grand design is that our work will take care of our fellow man and the planet that God birthed. Whether our job seems lofty or menial, it has the same basic purposes: to care for others and to support ourselves and our families. We add value and we get paid. We work diligently and experience greater rewards. We slack off and may experience less rewards. At least, that's how it is supposed to work.
With the advent of the industrial revolution, compensation began disconnecting from direct labor. The man who waited for the machine to break down (so he could fix it) might get paid more than the man who fed wood into the machine. Though one job was physically much harder than the other, higher skill level might mean more pay. In present day, most workers never see money or a paycheck. Salaries are directly deposited in the bank. Like the wind, we only see the effects of getting paid: food to eat, a place to live and clothes to wear.
Work tends to impart identity. I'm a salesman or a doctor or a information technology worker. Although Christians are supposed to be above things like pride, we take satisfaction in the perceived value of our jobs. It is one of things that identifies us. "Oh, you're Jane from Human Resources."
What happens when our jobs cause us pain? Depending on the job, it might be mental or psychological pain. Suppose your job is stressful and keeps you up at night worrying? The very thing that is supposed to sustain you begins to harm you. The thing that gives you identity begins to rob you of life itself.
Like all crises for the Christian, it is past time to bring the issue to the Lord in prayer. He cares about us, it says it right there in 1 Peter 5:7: "casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." Pain can be an indicator that something is wrong. Our attitude is out of adjustment. Our priorities are messed up. O maybe, our faith needs a shot of adrenaline.
What ever the pain at your work, take it to the Lord. He wants to hear about the good things too. If you have a commute, why not take November and practice praying on your way home. Thank God for your job, but also tell Him what's going on...from your perspective. He knows the Truth already, but tell Him how it all makes you feel. You just might find that He has wisdom to fix your pain.
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