Wrestling with Work over a Plate of Pancakes

By George Caruso

“Six days you shall labor and do all your work” – Exodus 20:9

Could you imagine our society if God set up a rhythm of six days’ rest and one day work? Of course we see just the opposite pattern established in creation. God is introduced to us in Scripture as a Worker, since His creative activity is described as “work” (Genesis 2:2). We also read that God made man in His image (Genesis 1:27), and that God gave Adam a job before He gave him a family (Genesis 2:15). And all this happened before the sin entered the world. Work is clearly important to God. But I sometimes wonder, is my work important to God?

As part of the men’s ministry at New Life, we decided to start wrestling with similar questions in the context of a monthly men’s breakfast. In some ways, we are attempting to build upon the energy and community that overflows from our annual retreat. We do this by bringing together a cross-generational group of men more regularly to discuss how we live out the gospel. Vocation seemed like a great place to start the conversation. I often feel a disconnect between my faith and the place I spend about 60 percent of my waking hours. Based on conversations with other men, I sense that I am not alone.

Here’s a helpful framework that has already challenged my approach to work. At the first meeting, we discussed the Tower of Babel vs. a “covenant people” mindset. In Genesis 11, the people built a city and tower out of fear and to make a name for themselves. In the very next chapter, we read how God called Abram to be a blessing, and that God will make his name great. Am I approaching work resting on my identity in Christ and seeking to be a blessing, or am I driven by fear and insecurity to make a name for myself? Our hope is that we begin to reimagine work – not just broadly, but for each of our particular jobs – in a way that ultimately blesses others.

So where are we going with the men’s breakfast topics? We’re not quite sure yet. But we are committed to gathering men, discussing relevant issues, and sharing a warm breakfast together. If you are male (and still reading this), hope to see you there!