I’ve been working since I was 14. Something has been staring me in the face that I’ve only recognized in the last five years as I’ve had the opportunity to go to work on work:
Work is hard!
I’ve heard old-timers say “of course work is hard, that’s why they call it work.” Yet I’ve grown up in a different era, an era where the tacit assumption is that if you’re doing work (or parenting or marriage or church) correctly, it will be easy. Easy = right, hard = wrong. Sometimes religious types spiritualize this: easy = God’s will, hard = bad or evil. This is an unhelpful and misleading idea. Part of God’s vision for work centers on the challenging nature of work itself.
The Upside of the Downside
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (Romans 5:3-5)Character is having a solid core which instinctively do the best thing even when no one is looking, even when it hurts. The capacity to press on after what is truly good is developed in difficulty. The challenges of the modern work world provide a veritable character factory in which God makes us better people. Even Jesus perfected or proved his character through challenge (Hebrews 5:8).
When we go through challenges, setbacks or even losses at work, these pains are not wasted. God uses them to transform us at the core of our being and thus even the hard side of work matters to God.
How About You?
How has a work related challenge or disaster been instrumental in making you a better person?