For me, turning “Accidentally Green” has absolutely everything to do with stewardship. There are different ways to be a good steward, though. Today, here are some musings about how you can be a good steward of your work:
I think that modern work is a little weird. Maybe the work isn’t what’s weird, but in the big scope of history, today’s jobs definitely are strange.
For thousands upon thousands of years, people worked hard to survive. It was an absolute necessity to produce your own food – whether it was through farming or hunting – and you needed to create your own shelter and clothes. (After re-reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series with my children, I’m astounded by how much work pioneers needed to do.)
Innovation made those necessities much easier, and within a couple hundred years, absolutely everything in our culture has changed.
Image courtesy of sixninepixels/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
While factory and service jobs were quite common last century, they’re quickly fading into people’s memories. Instead of standing and laboring all day long, many people need to sit to perform their jobs now. And computers are the new necessity.
Aside from introducing a variety of physical changes (who needed exercise when you were chopping wood and laboring in the fields all day long?), the new norm in working has radically changed our lives.
When many people used to go to work, they could clock out at the end of the day, travel home and forget about their job. Because they didn’t live in a factory or restaurant or store or fill-in-the-blank, they simply couldn’t perform their jobs. Now, mobile devices tether employees to their jobs around the clock. A person can work as much as they want. Or, when people are overworked, they often work more than they really want – but long hours are expected or required.
Being overworked – or developing an addiction to your job – can be problematic. It’s not healthy to become obsessed or addicted to your job.
It’s important to try to maintain healthy relationships to fulfill your duty to Christ. (As 1 Corinthians 7:32-34 explains, “An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided.”) Remember to get enough sleep. Remember to keep a Sabbath rest. Take a break every now and then, if you can. And find refreshment in the Lord.
Working too much isn’t necessarily bad. And as long as you’re glorifying God, being consumed by your work isn’t necessarily bad.
The assurance of hard work
Working hard can be a very good thing. Hard work is an excellent way to be a good steward of the life and gifts God has given you.
Hard work also is a promise in this fallen world. After the serpent deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the Lord instructed Adam:
“Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you,, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” (emphasis mine).
This side of Heaven, there is no way to get away from hard work. And as we’ll discuss later this week, hard work is preferred – not working hard enough is chastised.
Things to think about
When it comes down to hard work vs. overwork, judge for yourself. How is your work balance? When you’re finished with your job, are you able to mentally unplug and refresh yourself? Can you sit in church – or with your friends and family – and not mull over work? If you’re struggling with a healthy work and life balance, consider the cost of mentally staying on the job all of your waking hours.