Work is one of those words that each person probably hears a little differently. Everyone has a complicated relationship with it, wrapped up in motivations and expectations, success and disappointment. And it’s all the more complicated by the massive proportion of our work that’s devoted to survival.
Twenty minutes wasn’t much time to tackle such a big topic. And in the days since, I’ve been mulling over stuff I ignored. Issues like poverty, retirement, and duty went largely unaddressed. As did emotions like regret, security, fulfillment. But I wasn’t really going after those kinds of things. Not directly.
Each of us is the artist of our own lives. We get some creative control over the shapes of our families, our relationships, our work. I don’t use that artist word lightly. Whether you feel like an artist or not, the process of shaping and reshaping our lives is, at its heart, a creative one. And we all do it.
But we’re not entirely free as artists. We’re creative in the image of God’s creativity. And the closer we can tie our art to his, the more beautiful the result will be. Our Master Creator asks us to design within some broad categories, which on Sunday I summed up as
- restoring the earth,
- providing for others, and
- spreading the good news.
Those are the three legs of our easel, holding our artwork before us as we step back, study what we’ve done so far, and then move in again to refine it. All those related issues and emotions I passed over: those are the details we’ll spend our lives responding to – reworking, reshaping, sometimes scrapping and starting over.
The point I want to make, for now, is that our work can be made beautiful and meaningful, whether it’s long and tedious or fast and fulfilling. The Bible and all of history are full of lives that attest to that possibility. Lives that restored the earth, provided for others, and spread good news.