Leland Ryken on Work

I have been thinking of something one of my dear friends said to me last week regarding being fully involved and invested in the work set before us at all times.

Our trouble  is that sometimes the tasks before us seem mundane or unpleasant or tedious and so we do them in a distracted manner, rather than pouring ourselves in and making the details of our lives lovely.   It all came flooding over me yesterday as I was sewing up a couple of new table cloths and decided not to bother ironing the edges since they were only for the kitchen.

They turned out fine, but I knew I was hurrying too much and taking lazy shortcuts…and that’s a weed that’s hard to eradicate!

My friend  and I are praying for one another, that a Godly  kind of self-investment in our work will be  more evident in our lives every moment of every day.  It’s surprising how easily I fall off the rails on this and fritter my time and have to reorient myself to the notion that there is a good work set before me for each moment, and that I need to be giving myself to it with my whole heart, and doing it as unto the Lord.  Whether it’s dishes or laundry or teaching history or marking grammar papers or cooking dinner.

It’s about stewardship of time and energy, and about being thankful for the time, energy, people and work that have been bestowed upon me.

So with this in mind, I have gone back in an old notebook to look at things I have copied from other writers regarding “work”, and here is something that popped out at me as being right on target…..how even a pagan idea can be applied in a godly way if our perspective is one of honor to God and thanksgiving for his providence.

“There is something primordial about work.  It answers a deep-seated human urge to be useful, to master something, to do something skillfully, to produce something tangible.   Karl Marx put it this way:

‘Labor is the very touchstone for man’s self-realization, the medium of creating the world of his desire….Man….labors to transform his world, to put his own mark on it, to make it his, and to make himself at home in it.’

Of course this view of work as achievement can lead to either a humanistic view of human greatness or a Christian stance of stewardship in which ability and opportunity are accepted gratefully as God given.”

Leland Ryken’s Work and Leisure in Christian Perspective