Thoughts About Work

Work. Something we all do. We spend the majority of our lives engaged in it, yet we think so little about why we are doing it and how we should be doing it. In the essay “Why Work?” Dorothy Sayers raises both of these questions for us.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about my work. Is this what I want to do for the remaining twenty or so years before retirement? Should I follow a different path? Why am I doing what I am doing? The usual things one asks when things are not going so well at the office. Reading this essay was a timely reality check for me.

Sayers has several main points, first, that we were made to work. God made us in his image, and he is a creative being, working to create us and the universe in which we exist. As beings made in that image, to work is a part of our nature.

Second, we need to do our best, to do the thing we do well in order to be true to our nature. God made what he made for his own sake and for his own benefit. In a similar way, our work needs to be soul-satisfying to us, no matter what it is. Obviously there are limitations on this. For example an excellent thief would not be true to the nature God gave him. Doing what is evil well is not good or moral.

This also means that our primary motivation should not be income, a hard concept in our culture. We should choose our career or job based on our passions and the skills God has given us. This is his plan for being fulfilled in our work.

The implications of this are huge, and provide some important clarifications to how we talk about work. What this all points to is finding your calling, and yes I mean that in the Scriptural sense. Calling is a term equally well applied to pastors, tradesmen, and professionals.

Unhappy with your work? The question to be asking is not about salary or hours or responsibility. The question is really “What’s my calling?”

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