Friday’s coming. I can’t wait. I’m just working for the weekend right now. It’s almost here.
Some weeks are like that – we’re so tired or worn down that we’re thinking about the next Friday during Monday’s commute to the office. If it’s only the occasional week it’s normal. If it’s a few weeks in a row we’re due for a vacation. But if working for the weekend is the norm we’ve gotten things twisted.
We don’t work to rest and play; we rest and play to work. That’s how God made us. We are designed to work, and because of that design we should find great satisfaction in the activity of working. We may not love our particular jobs sometimes, but we should always love work.
God gave us the Sabbath and labor unions earned us a second day off. That rest is a gift, just like work. Even as we were created to work we were created to need rest, to take breaks, to trust that God will provide even if we don’t earn for a bit. But this rest is not the end; it is the means. It’s the means to recharge our mental and physical batteries so that we can find satisfaction in work and work well. If we make rest the aim we’ve turned God’s design upside down.
If this is the position you find yourself in, do these three things:
1. Examine your heart
Working for the weekend is lazy and likely idolatrous. It means that your personal comfort is foremost in your. It means that your heart is not engaged in your work and, in fact, has completely missed the point of work as a gift. To work for the weekend means that you are working for the wrong reasons and not even finding those – for money, for personal or emotional fulfillment, to create or polish your image and identity. But work should be done “as unto the Lord” or “for the Lord.” We don’t work for the weekend; we work for the creator. When we lose sight of Him we begin to work for ourselves, and when that inevitably disappoints all we are left with is the hope of a decent couple days off.
2. Examine your gifts
God made you with a special set of skills. Not Liam Neeson special, but special nonetheless. He made you unique and with unique passions. Once you have committed your heart to work as unto the Lord then taking stock of those gifts is essential. What are you good at? What do you love to do? If those do not align with your current job in some way you are only going to experience vocational friction. This doesn’t mean they need to line all the way, or even most of the way. But you will be much more likely be able to work with satisfaction, in a God-honoring way f you can find some meaningful way to out the gifts he’s given you to use in your job.
3. Examine your job
Meaningful work looks different for different people because of the uniqueness with which God designed us. For some meaningful work might be selling bonds or financial services, for others it is preaching, for many it is parenting, for others creating art, and for others it’s manual work and craftsmanship. None of these is more meaningful than the others; the question is whether the worker finds the meaning in it? And that has a lot to do with whether he or she is exercising God-given gifts and passions. Meaningful work means that you see a purpose in it and you see your place in it. It is the right position with the enough right opportunities. Sometimes this is a temporary thing – meaningful for a few months. Other times it might be a career to settle into for decades. The question is are you able to do your job as unto the Lord, using the abilities He has given you to represent Him well?
If the answer to that is yes, even if it is difficult – and thanks to Adam it always is – then you won’t work for the weekend. You’ll work for God and be thankful for the weekend.
Barnabas Piper serves on the leadership team at Lifeway, and is the author of several books, including The Pastor’s Kid, and Help My Unbelief.