“What have I become, my sweetest friend? Everyone I know goes away in the end. And you could have it all, my empire of dirt. I will let you down. I will make you hurt.” — Trent Reznor, “Hurt”

2 Corinthians 4:16-5:10
Luke 16:10-15
Matthew 19:27-30

What kind of employer is God? Compared to the world, he offers abysmal pay and benefits.

Working for the world pays. We receive insurance, stock options, pay raises, bonuses and vacations. This in addition to steady income, clothes, cars and housing. Our names show up in print, in conversation. Professional and social cliques woo us. Our influence grows. The better we become at our work, the more we attain. The clothes turn designer, the cars’ interiors leather, and the houses sit on larger lots. 

God’s work doesn’t offer much of this. He promises to take care of us, sure, but he never mentions class A shares of Berkshire Hathaway or nights at the Ritz. He doesn’t always tell us what we’re doing or where we’re going. And there’s not a lot of recognition or status involved. On the sliding social scale measuring attractive work, God’s doesn’t make the list. It’s below unemployed.

God’s work isn’t about building financial empires, but about building a kingdom. It’s not focusing on projects and ventures, but on finding purpose. It doesn’t bring recognition, but it does mean recognizing Jesus in the world. Admission into the social elite doesn’t come standard, but feeling God’s love does.

Power? No, but understanding personal weakness, yes. It may not involve driving a Bentley, but it does mean walking with Jesus.

Man’s work is visible, tangible, material, credible and possible. Man’s work is about producing things we can see. These things are the gods we make that tell us we’re gods. They tell us we’re alive, we exist, we matter, and our time here hasn’t been wasted. They help us believe in ourselves. Then they die, and we need new gods.

God’s work allows us to see the invisible, grasp the intangible, work for the immaterial, believe the incredible, and do the impossible. Ultimately, the work of God means believing in Jesus. This God doesn’t die, he’s checked that off his list already. And he alone can teach us how to really believe in ourselves. 

See for yourself. Go, work a lifetime building gods of security, comfort and status. Watch them stand silent when you need them most. Watch history forget you and your influence.

There was a carpenter-teacher who lived two millennia ago. He lived among many exorbitantly wealthy men. No one remembers their names or their life’s work. We still live in the shadow of his. Now, what does he say about work?

What do you think valuable, lasting work is?
Why are you working?
How do you respond to Jesus’ description of work in John 6:29? Why? 


© 2006