Feb 12, 2008

Work: a blessing in disguise

by Nick Olson
I must confess — I was secretly hoping my mononucleosis test results would come back positive. Christmas break was just a couple weeks away, and an excuse to be even lazier than typical Christmas break laziness sounded like pure bliss.

As a result, feigning disappointment was the easiest acting job of my life when the results came back positive.

I was ready to spend the next four weeks of Christmas break doing a whole lot of nothing. Doctor’s orders, right? Much to my surprise, within about three days of my hiatus from work, I discovered that lying around each day was worse than a 50-hour work week. I was ready to head back to Liberty for the spring semester one week into vacation.

I needed to remind myself that work is not a resulting punishment of Adam and Eve’s blunder.

It is hard to shake that misconception when it seems like the majority of people I encounter on a daily basis view their occupation or classes similarly to the way Stanley views his paper supply desk job in “The Office”: a severe punishment to be endured in order to survive.

On the contrary, work should be a blessing in our lives. God had no problem giving me a reminder by allowing me to come down with mono. I became mildly depressed at times during my weeks of laziness.

I am convinced one of the reasons for my semi-despair was because I ceased to be moving towards a goal. While we may not need “The Purpose Driven Life,” people do need purpose. God has uniquely equipped each one of us with talents, intelligence and the ability to be fascinated by a wide range of subjects. Life becomes ultimately fulfilling when we translate these abilities and fascinations into a God-honoring ambition to be pursued.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of lying around each day was being alone with my thoughts for far too long. Shortly before regaining healthy activity, I had convinced myself that I was an English major with no education licensure who had nothing interesting, or valuable, to contribute to society. I would thus die of poverty once everything was taken from me by the government because I could not pay off my school loans.

I anxiously over-think my life at times. As a result of this flaw, I have come to appreciate the focused mind generated by the pursuit of a purpose that is daily reliant on God’s provision.

When working, I am focused on the present task, and my mind is less prone to wander into the web of lies Satan uses to try to discourage my pursuit of the work God has laid before me.

I am finding that when I do my part by “working as unto the Lord” — Colossians 3:23 — I can then prayerfully trust that God will place me in the middle of opportunities waiting to be seized.

If going to class or your current occupation is at best a strenuous chore, reevaluate the direction your life is currently heading and the motives pushing you in that direction. Nothing can rob us of the pleasures of work quite like selfish motives. Upon a serious evaluation of the subject for which you have interest, it may be time to take a risk and change your major. This may not be easy. It may not be convenient.

Your fascinations and interests may not translate into job security or early retirement, but I, personally, would much rather be gaining pleasure from work than using work as a means to try to gain pleasure.

As with anything in life, there is a balance. Even God spent a whole day relaxing after six days of creation. Imagine the rest required by us frail humans.

Our most proficient and enjoyable work requires proper rest. What must be kept in mind, however, is that all rest and no work ultimately leads to restlessness. Contact Nick Olson at nsolson@liberty.edu
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