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Oct 28, 2015, 9:58 AM | Article By: FR. EDU GOMEZ - Parish of the Resurrection, Brikama

Work or labour is as old as humanity and it is regarded by all people as an important aspect of life.An English dictionary definition of work states, it’s an activity seen under the realm of labour or an act of labouring.A dictionary of the Bible also defines work as labour or the fruits of one’s labour. (Gen.3:42, II Thess. 3:5-16)

The English adage states “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.Here work is highlighted as important in a person’s life but a person should also recreate himself or herself.The Marxist-socialists have a concept by which they define man.That the dignity of man is labour or work.The personality of man is in the work that he/she does.Man therefore cannot exist except for work.This ideology does not take cognizance of relaxation or recreation.

In the Bible, work originates from God because He is called creator (Gen.1) work is also important in a person’s life as recreation is.“Work six days a week but do so that your servants and foreigners who work for you and even your animals can rest”. (Ex. 23:10-12)The injunction of the seventh day rest equally portrays that the human person should work and take a time to rest and recreate oneself.

In the early chapters of the book of Genesis, God gave punishment to Adam and Eve simply because they disobeyed His commands.The punishment God gave to Adam was, “Because of what you have done, the ground will be under curse.You will have to work hard all your life to make it produce enough food for you” (Gen. 3:17-18).The work that Adam had to do, stands as a punishment.Adam from then on had to suffer and undergo hard manual labour.For Eve the woman, her labour was to suffer hardship and pain in child delivery and male dominance of her life (Gen.3).

The biblical concept of work was not only as a result of punishment.In the lives of Cain and Abel, work was important and defined their lives.Cain was a farmer and Abel a shepherd (Gen. 4).Abraham was a nomad who had animals which he kept for his family’s sustenance.He therefore worked as a shepherd.Isaac his son also continued his father’s trade and owned animals (Gen. 25).The Biblical concept had continued to be seen in existence all through the Old Testament.They benefited from their work and sustained themselves in all that they harvested.(Gen. 4:1-4).

Joseph and his brothers were shepherds who cared for flocks of sheep belonging to their father (Gen. 37).Work was defined all the different generation of people of Israel.So long as they were a nomadic people their best bet was for them to work fought battles and win their way to the Promised Land.

The New Testament is full of images of a working people.First and foremost at Jesus’ home.Jesus’ home was known as the house of a carpenter, i.e. Joseph.Jesus was associated with the work of a carpenter.He also gave parables especially of a Sower (Mtt. 13:1-9).Good shepherd (Jn. 10:7-16). The rich fool (Lk. 12:16-21) etc.

Jesus did not work as a farmer or a shepherd but he called fishermen from the Galilean shores so that they can be “fishers” of men (Mk. 1:16-20).He used the fishermen’s boat as a pulpit to preach and called apostles to go out and preach and heal people as their work.They worked for the Kingdom of God and they were be rewarded a hundred fold.

The New Testament concept of work also appears in the epistles Paul wrote, (II Thess.3:6-15 and Col. 3:23-25) “we say this because we hear that there are some people among you who live lazy lives and who do nothing except meddle in other people’s business.In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we command these people and warn them to lead orderly lives and work to earn their own living (II Thess 5:11-12)

Paul’s teaching exemplifies Christ’s teaching that all who belong to the Lord should take on the attitude of working to sustain oneself and continue his family’s and society survival.Paul’s hard warning was that anyone who refuses to do work should be refused food stands as a teaching against idleness and dependency.The spirit of hard work is what Paul wants to see among all believers.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not man.Remember that the Lord will give you as reward what he has kept for his people.For Christ is the real master that you serve (Col. 3:23-24).

The basis of the Christian concept of work is biblical, Christological, and Pauline in context.The Christian teachings about work are as follows:

Work is God given and Godly.It comes to humanity as a means for survival and done to obey God. Work is therefore divine.

Work in all forms whether manual, intellectual, business or otherwise are a better means for sustenance and contribution towards the building up of a nation.

The Saint John Paul II, defines work as a “dignity of the human person”, - man fulfils his human identity in work (Laborem Exercens) St Iraeneus equally teaches that “the glory of God is man fully alive”. This is exemplified in productive work which man benefits from.

Jesus teaches that “a labourer deserves his wages” This teaches that justice is to be done in every human labour.When a man works he deserves to be paid.The Christian general teaching is such that work should be remunerated nightfully.No one’s salary should be kept even for a day.

In work, laziness and idleness is overcome.The popular adage says, the idle mind is the devils workshop.It is un-Christian to be lazy and to be a beggar.

Ultimately apart from the earthly reward towards work God also pays hard working people in heaven.All the Saints in heaven have not been lazy people but holy and hard working and that’s why they merited to be in heaven.In heaven they continue to work for God to sing his unending praises at all times.

Let us work to sustain our families, develop our nation and glorify God.