Embracing the Gift of Work

"So, what should I do next?"

I speak to audiences of people on a pretty regular basis, so this is a question I hear often.

I mean, I get it.

You're searching for a blueprint or formula than can carry you in the right direction and ideally, help you secure a more successful future, right?

But what if there's more to it than this?


Motivation is a powerful thing, especially when it comes to how you look at work. 

I was once at a creative conference where I hosted a workshop on the essence of good creativity and what it really is. 

When I was finished, a younger man came up to me. He began sharing some of the great ideas he had to design and create his own apparel (something I had done a few years back). In his words, he was set to begin working. With great enthusiasm, he could already imagine what the outcome would be like. Then, as you might expect, that question came at me again...

"So, what do I do next?" he asked. 

"You need to start," I said.

Now, I know that's not a profound response but it's the plain, simple truth. 

You might think there's a special sauce or a magic bullet in what it takes to get the job done, but rarely, if ever, is this the case. In fact, the only substitute for good, hard work is little magical gnomes that do all of the work for you while you sleep. Oh wait, those don't exist. 

That project won't make itself. That email won't write itself. As much as you hate making phone calls or having those hard conversations, they won't ever get done unless you do them. 

Here's the unsexy truth about it all...
You have to do the work. 
There's no other way around it.

Most people I talk to seem to view work as a burden. They see it as an obligatory evil that, while hated, is something they must endure in order to carve out a living.

Chances are you've heard others say something like, "Well, I would love join you, but I have to go to work."


"I'm having so much fun, but it will all end tomorrow when I go back to work."

Earnestly, in the past, I've even found myself saying things like this. And maybe, just like me, you viewed work with a special sense of dread. Or maybe you saw it as an arena where it was entirely impossible for you to enjoy it. 

But what if it could be different?

What if work wasn't like pounding your head on the cement?
What if work didn't have to be a bludgeoning, hated experience? 

Instead of dreading it, what if work could be seen as a gift?

If you look back in the early part of Genesis, you will see that no sooner had God made Adam, then he put him in a particular place (the garden) and gave him a job – to tend to the garden and name all of its animals (Genesis 2:19-20). 

God's aim wasn't to burden Adam with a job. His goal was to give Adam purpose.

More than just purpose, God had also made the garden full of provision. It was rich with food and sustenance to keep Adam alive (Genesis 2:15-16). 

By design, this was how God intended to sustain Adam and (later on) his family.

Now, on the opposite end of the spectrum, King Solomon shares the story of a different kind of gardner, a very lazy vineyard owner. 

I went by the field of the lazy man, And by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; Its surface was covered with nettles; Its stone wall was broken down. When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction: A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest; So shall your poverty come like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.
— Proverbs‬ ‭24‬:‭30-34

Stagnation is a cold killer. 

Notice this guy has all of the resources, but none of the wherewithal to begin doing what seems natural, tending to his vineyard. Instead, he lets it all go to waste. All of the potential is there, it just needs to be brought to fruition.

So, what am I saying to you?

You can't let it all go to waste. 

You have to till the soil.

You have to apply your skill.

You have to explore your resources.

You have to start the work.

Your work is bound with purpose and provision, but until you to labor hard at it, you'll never see the results you desire. (Tweet this)

Your passion and dream is irrelevant until you decide to make it happen. (Tweet this)

I imagine what it would be like if my wife and I had never started writing. Now, as our community here grows, we can't imagine it any other way. 

Yes, it's take some serious effort. In many cases, I've woken up between 2am-4am to edit and share our words. I didn't have to, but God's given us some ground to cultivate and we want this vineyard to thrive. 

You have a gift. What skill or resource has God given you to cultivate or carve out a greater purpose? 

Pressing into your work is a discipline God's designed to help you draw more out of life. It's good stewardship. You might even call it worship.

As you read this, I hope it provokes you to ask some questions that challenge your work ethic & perspective. Here's some to consider:

If you had unlimited time and resources, what would you be doing with your life? Consider what limited resources you have now and make a commitment to start anyway.

If work is an act of worship, how can you better invest yourself in what you're doing to bring God glory? 

If you know what God has called you to do, have you stalled out in your purpose? Where are you stalling or better yet, why?


Remember, More than mere work, there's purpose and provision waiting for you on the other side. 

Don't you think it's time you get started?

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