The Joy of Work.
Work – we all have to do it, whether we like it or not. Even if we like it we tend to have mixed feelings. There is almost an expectation in our society that unless our work is deeply ‘satisfying’ and well paid, we will whinge about it. Yet it doesn’t have to be like that. In the past week, we have celebrated both Labour Day and the Feast of St Joseph the Worker.
Our Christian faith holds that by working we share in God’s creative power. In the Creation Story we see God stopping to admire the divine work and proclaim it as good, even very good. In the Gospels we see Jesus working as a tradesman for years before preaching. We are made in God’s image and we, too, should take satisfaction in our work. No matter how humble or boring it is, we find that when we finish a task and appreciate what we have done, we grow as human beings and we have a sense of satisfaction and joy. Yes, we should be paid a fair wage – that is the way the wider society shows it appreciation of our work – but our respect for and pride in our work is more important than money.
It is important for our children to learn this sense of satisfaction. They need to do chores around the house. Even though it can be a bother for us to teach them (it is far easier to do it ourselves), even though they grumble and argue, even though work done might not be up to scratch, they get a sense of belonging to their family and community that no amount of verbal affirmation can give them and at the same time, you, as parents, have the opportunity to be their teachers in the important skills of life.
Loving God, you delight in creation. As we work, may your Spirit play within us do that we may delight in sharing your care for people and creation. May the example of Jesus, the tradesman, inspire to take pride in our work. We ask this in his name confident that you will hear us.
Sr Kym Harris osb