Text: Isaiah 44:9-20
Worship of Work
From the very first chapter of Genesis the Bible instructs us that there is value and importance in work by providing the example of God’s creation of the universe. In addition to many positive examples given of work in the Bible, there are also some grave warnings about what can happen in the absence of work. Everyone has probably heard that idle hands are the devil’s workshop and idle lips are his mouthpiece (Proverbs 16:27, Living Bible translation). Today’s passage that, in the minds of some people, work might end up as a form of idolatry needs some context then. Just as the Bible gives emphasis to God’s work of creation by placing it in the very first chapter, God signals that the issue of idolatry is significant by making it the first topic of the Ten Commandments.
As is often the case when it comes to the Commandments, my failure to hold to them is not simply a matter of willfully violating the fundamental meaning of the words that are written. Upon reflection I find in many cases I have not been thoughtful and purposeful about the subtler meanings found in each. I suspect other disciples have this same experience! It has been an easy habit for me to compartmentalize Sunday as God’s day and the other six days of the week to the earthly matter of making a living. But that is not what a disciple of Jesus is meant to do. Jesus’ disciples are meant to recognize His role in our lives every day. And that includes the work we do or the career that we have. While today’s reading is not the first that instructs me about the futility of relying on myself only, I believe perhaps the Holy Spirit has been at work growing this idea within me and focusing me more on it recently.
The separation of our Creator from the creation of our hands is a problem with predictable outcomes. Verse 11 states that terror and infamy will come to those who worship what they create and verse 18 continues that: They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot think. I encourage each of us to thoughtfully reflect on the role that Jesus plays in the work that we do and prayerfully consider how His partnership can grow in our work lives.
~ Kent Silvernail,
Lay Minister of Stewardship