"How was your day?"
"Work was super stressful. My to-do list keeps growing;
there's never an end in sight."
All too often, conversations begin something like this. "Work" or the physical surroundings of the place we call work, consume our thoughts and our conversations. And why not? It makes sense that a building we drive to or a role we play for 8 hours a day would consume our thoughts.
The world runs on work.
Insurance agents quote a policy. Investors count the cost. Grocers stock the shelves. Farmers grow the food. And without these tasks, this work, many things we take for granted wouldn't get done, or at least, not without us doing each task ourselves.
This makes work sound pretty important. Why, then, is it so often the thorn in our flesh, the source of greatest headache, the stealer of sleep?
Because once, all at once, work became toil. God, speaking to man in a garden where perfect relationship with the Maker was just broken: "...getting food from the ground will be as painful as having babies is for your wife; you'll be working in pain all your life long. ...you'll get your food the hard way... sweating in the fields from dawn to dusk." (excerpts from Genesis 3: 17-19, The Message)
Toil can be described as "hard and continuous work" or "exhausting labor or effort". Even, "battle, strife, struggle". (from dictionary.com)
Now, this sounds more like what many of us describe as how we feel about work.
How, then, can we encourage work? How can we who live in urban centers with so much poverty and laziness, look at the men on front porches day in and day out with a Colt 45 in their hands and say, "Go to work, you sluggard!" (does anyone really say sluggard?) while we so often feel that our own work is battle and strife and struggle?
What do we say to this?
(More to come in the next post...)