Work is a noble thing for a man to do. Some feel that working is a part of the curse that God pronounced after the first couple sinned in the Garden of Eden, but it is clear that man was to work the garden long before Adam and Eve sinned (Genesis 2:15). So when did work actually become laborious?
“All the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet the soul is not satisfied” (Ecclesiastes 6:7 NKJV).
We work to support our families, to eat, to enjoy life, yet the Bible says that these things will not satisfy the soul of a man. Think about how often men will identify themselves, and measure their worth, by what they do. Remember those weird introductions at parties? So, how would you feel about yourself if your job was removed from you tomorrow? Let’s imagine that your income wouldn’t change, just what you did everyday. How long will it take for life to become laborious and unsatisfactory?
One of the schemes that our enemy uses is to get men to view their value solely based on the type of work they do and how well they do it. This is performance-based acceptance. It says “As long as I have a good job and I do it well, I have self-esteem and people will think I’m valuable.”
This is a “slippery slope” and can be used by Satan to keep our focus on our performance rather than having a focus on Christ and his mission in the world. We are a part of that mission. We are never to find our value in our livelihood. Instead, our value is solely based on who we are in Christ. Paul wrestled with this after he came to faith in Christ. He had made it to the top of his field as a Jewish leader.
If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith (Phil 3:4-9).
You’ll never really know how much your self-esteem is rooted in your work until your work is taken away. Unemployment, illness, or a financial crisis can lead to job loss, but our self-esteem is based on our faith in Christ; it is more valuable to know whose we are than who we are. Work will never satisfy the deep longings of our heart.
Why not evaluate where you are in this area of your life. Affirm with God your desire to be known by Who you know rather than what you do.
We are not meeting this Saturday due to the Youth Evangelism Conference, but will get together next week on Saturday January 23 at 7:30 am.