Some have surmised from Scripture that working is part of the “burden” of the consequence of the fall of man, due to his disobedience of God. But when one observes correctly, Adam and Eve were given duties by God to perform before their disobedience, to care for the rest of creation. (Genesis 1:26-28) Work is part of God’s created plan for humanity. Later, under Moses’ leadership, God instructed his people to “work six days, but on the seventh day rest.” (Exodus 34:21) In a letter to the Christians at Thessalonica, the Apostle Paul was very direct, “if anyone will not work, neither let him eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10b)
We are fulfilled, in part, by a sense of industry and accomplishment. When held in its proper priority, work is a very good thing. When it becomes the end all and be all of one’s identity, however, success in one’s work has become an idol.
For some, discouraged and broken by their failures, bad habits, or misfortunes, work has become elusive. We see many men and women coming into our Pathways Recovery Program at Panama City Rescue Mission who have despaired of ever being productive again. They have little or no hope. They have no support system. They have no direction. Some have not held a job in years. Others have gone from job to job, unable to maintain stability because of attitudes and insecurities that prevent them from taking direction or receiving correction.
One of our primary goals in the discipleship recovery program is to establish or re-establish a work-ordered lifestyle for our students. They are placed in a structured, time-managed environment and begin to reorient their minds and bodies to a schedule that includes work, learning, worship, recreation, and rest. They learn communication, relationship, and job skills that enable them to cooperate more effectively in team-directed tasks. They experience brainstorming, goal-setting, problem-solving, evaluations, praise, and promotion. They learn to love God, know His plan for their lives, and as the Apostle Paul also says, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” (Colossians 3:23)
They are learning to view work as a privilege and an opportunity to demonstrate their love for God and service to others and to exercise their gifts and talents, not as drudgery and a burden to be endured.
It is our desire for our students that they would bear the light of Christ into the work world, wherever they go.