In many regards, western culture is hedonistic. It’s all about pleasure, whatever makes me happy. Consequently there’s a running joke, that isn’t really a joke, about how horrible Monday is, how Tuesday is snooze day because it’s, well, not as hateful as Monday but still too far away from the weekend. Then comes hump day, which means, the hard part is over and we’re on the home stretch to day four, then finally to Friday. And THE WEEKEND!!
Of course the weekend is special because for two days we don’t have to go to work! We get to do whatever we want. We get to be who we really are—hedonists.
Sadly, many Christians have adopted this same view of life—the week is to be tolerated so we can get to the weekend and do what we want. In other words, work is simply there to finance the weekend.
It’s a bleak way of looking at life!
For one thing, the weekend is short. It’s not even thirty percent of our week. So that means seventy percent of our time revolves around something we’re trying to endure rather than embrace.
But more importantly, this hedonistic way of looking at life is purposeless. After the parties or the drinking or the carousing, after the games, the dinners, the movies, what do we have? How have we made a difference in the world? What have we achieved? What have we improved?
This “eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die” approach to weekend living means that we will pass into eternity as if we have no significance other than to work so we can play. It’s a contradiction of God’s intention for us.
If all we can say about the weekend was, I had fun, then our approach is also selfish.
And I say “we” because this view of work and the weekend has largely been adopted by Christians as well as the secularists of our society. We don’t seem to be different in our approach to work than the atheist down the block.
But shouldn’t Christians have a different view of work? God created a perfect world and put humans, who He called “good,” into that world, then gave instructions. First up was to care for, to cultivate the garden which was their home.
Granted, from what God said after Adam and Eve fell into sin, the work involved in cultivating nature was much harder than it had been. Nevertheless, Adam had a specific, God-given responsibility that required his time, attention, and expertise. He had a job. And it seems it was a big job, involving the animals as well as the care of the plants.
Clearly, work was part of God’s perfect created order. The big picture is that God gave Adam the responsibility of representing Him to the rest of creation. So it was a lot more than trimming and harvesting and naming.
That job was God-centric, productive, purposeful, other-oriented.
All that to say, I think Christians need to recapture this view of work. For one thing, God has blessed us with jobs. I know in the past I lost sight of that fact. After all, I was the one with the qualifications, the one who interviewed, was hired, planned, prepared, got up every morning, and worked through the day to earn my pay check.
Yes. And no. God opened doors, prompted people to hire me, enabled me to get the education I got, gave me the ability to understand, to know what I needed to do, and the strength to do it. My pay check was God’s provision through the job God provided.
If we grasp the fact that God is the provider, then it frees us to look at our work differently—not as a profession that enslaves us (because how else will we pay for the mortgage and all the rest?), but as an opportunity to represent Christ to those toiling around us.
I can’t help but wonder how different our witness would be if we got up on Monday morning and said, Thank God I have a job? And, How can I serve You at work today?
Wouldn’t that attitude be noticeable, something radically different from how other people approach the work week?
And what about the weekend? I think rest and recreation have a place in our lives. God built us to enjoy—starting with enjoying Him. I think we may have forgotten that, what with all the angst so many have expressed over the demise of the Church in western society.
We’re so busy trying to make “church” relevant to Millennials and Gen Xers and Ys, that we may have forgotten the Church is God’s. It already is relevant. We simply have to remember that Christ is our head, Christ is the reason we come together, Christ is the center of what we do, Christ is the One we should focus our attention on.
The home is God’s too. So what happens on the weekend that causes dads and moms and kids to come together or to bless each other as they dive into some community (friends, school, what have you) activity, is something to celebrate. But not as if those times are more important than the time at work.
In reality, they are one and the same—different fields, but the same mission: to serve God, obey Him, love Him, represent Him to those around us.