What is your perspective on work? Is it a necessary evil? Something that has to be done just so you can afford some things in life, like food? I remember as a teen I thought books were the essentials in life. Forget food, clothes and shelter, it was books that sustained us. I remember sitting in a barber's chair one day and thinking that all I wanted in life was to get a small job that gave me enough money to pay for food, rent and books. My plan was to live alone and read all day long, except for when I had to work. But there is more to working than just a means to afford the essentials of life.
In Paul's address to the Ephesians, as he was explaining what it is to live as children of the Light, he told them this:
He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. (Ephesians 4:28)
There was a saying around where I grew up, "A good day's work will make an honest man out of you". It's more like an honest man will do a good day's work. Work is something we were created to do. When Adam was put in the Garden it wasn't to lay around all day, he was there to work:
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (Genesis 2:15)
We never do well when we spend all our days reading, watching TV, or filling our hours with video games, FaceBook and Tumblr. It always does our spirit good when there is work for our hands to do. It is essential for us as followers of Jesus because the Spirit prompts us to be generous. It is not just about having provision for our family but it allows us to give to those in need.
Perhaps we have forgotten that this is a natural thing when we are living in the Spirit. The first Christians lived as if everything was in common. What was mine was yours and vice versa. People would sell off pieces of land to help those who were in need. After the great persecution in the Church in Jerusalem most of the Christians fled and spread out. Those who were left behind were facing difficult times as they were considered like lepers. So Paul took up a great collection among all the cities with congregations to benefit those left in Jerusalem.
So when we work it should not be with the thought that it is for ourself. We would do much better if we can see ourselves working for the Lord so we can contribute to the Church and to those who are in need. We need to provide for the Church so the Church can look after the widows and orphans. We need to work so we can be generous and share with those in need. There is purpose in keeping our hands busy. It goes beyond 10%, a tithe to a full giving, where everything we have belongs to God.
We need to work, it is only natural. We need to give, it is only natural. We need to work so that we can give, it is who we are in Jesus. There is greater purpose in our work than just providing for ourself and our family. As followers of Jesus, the essentials in life include generosity.