Day 4

From Mourning and Dancing – Fallen and Redeemed Work

from the 2016 Year in Review reading plan


Genesis 3:17-19, Ecclesiastes 2:18-26, Romans 8:19-23; Ecclesiastes 9:9-10, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:23, Philippians 2:12-16


Today was hard. Wait. Actually, today was awful.

Everything about my job was frustrating. I felt like a man working on an assembly line but every widget on the conveyer belt was broken and needed to be fixed. And none were the same. Every widget consisted of a different variety of pieces. And the belt kept bringing them on and on, endlessly, until I clocked out.

I was not dreaming; this was my day. I have a lot of days like this and, honestly, I am not sure if it will ever end. Some nights I lie in dread at the coming of the next day.

“For what does a man get with all his work and all his efforts that he labors at under the sun? For all his days are filled with grief, and his occupation is sorrowful; even at night, his mind does not rest. This too is futile.”
– Ecclesiastes 2:22-23

Believe it or not, one of the things that has helped me the most over the past 5 years of working in the business world—a world for which I was never trained—has been acknowledging how frustrating it really is. I kept thinking, “This is not the way it’s supposed to be.” And it took me a while to realize, that’s a holy thought.

The Bible is clear. When God tells Adam that the ground is cursed and his work will now be hard, it reminds me that work is not bad, but it will never be what it was supposed to be until Jesus returns.

When I realize that nothing—not even this frustrating job—can separate me from the love of God because of the work of Jesus, the Holy Spirit moves and I see glimpses of the glory of God and His redeeming work in and through my work. I get to be kind to others in a sometimes cold environment. I get to enjoy other people’s kindness. And I have even smiled at the brilliance of the people I work with.

There are times I know that, in my work, I am pushing back against the fall itself.

Today was awful. But it’s not supposed to be. And when I sit at my desk and groan at the day before me, I know that I am groaning, as Paul said, with all of creation, eagerly waiting for the redemption of our everything (Romans 8:22). Even our work.

That is a holy thought. A prayer, even.

Written By Matthew B. Redmond

Post Comments (7)

7 thoughts on "From Mourning and Dancing – Fallen and Redeemed Work"

  1. Justin says:

    This passage in Ecc. comes up a lot in my life. In some ways, I think the parts about working for the Lord was instilled in me as a child as a way to get me to do my chores. Next thing I know, It’s been reminded to me as I complained about some of my early jobs. Next thing I know, it is engrained, but without context. Now, my wife accuses me of being a workaholic. I can’t seems to disconnect from the work that needs to get done. In my mind, I’m “doing it for the Lord” and generally, I’m happy to be working. However, in my heart I know I haven’t left any energy for my family. This is futile.
    Lord, please help me to find balance. Lead me to good stopping points for the day and remind me to save some energy for my kids and wife. They need me too. Don’t allow me to miss out on the important things in life because I’m too busy. Nothing I’m doing is more important than them

  2. Oli says:

    It’s not wrong to recognise and acknowledge that the world is corrupt, not as it ought to be, and life can be difficult; but it is wrong to sit around and groan and grumble, not doing anything useful with your time, your money, and your hands.

    Please God help me not to be a negative person; please help me to recognise that the world is not as it ought to be, and is a corrupt place; and please help me to live for you despite all that, using my hands and my feet as instruments for your glory, offering my life as a living sacrifice.

  3. Nathan Porter says:

    Today was awful. But it’s not supposed to be. And when I sit at my desk and groan at the day before me, I know that I am groaning, as Paul said, with all of creation, eagerly waiting for the redemption of our everything (Romans 8:22). Even our work.
    That is a holy thought. A prayer, even.

  4. Dalton Beaty says:

    God has already told us in His word that our work will be hard all the days of our lives. That is laid out for us, clear cut. We must do with all our strength, for the glory of God. We are not working for money, we are not working solely for the support of our families, we are working to glorify God in the witness of those around us. When the Bible says that we must do all things for the glory of God, that very much so includes work! Our work will be hard, put your head down, don’t look for shortcuts, work hard, and bring God all of the glory he deserves.

  5. Anthony says:

    As I’m reading this mornings devotional, my phone rings for work. I answer the phone and am just frustrated by what I’m dealing with. I don’t like my job as it involves a lot of time on the phone, and taking calls from people who ask what I would consider to be some really dumb questions. After speaking with the guy on the phone, it goes back to what I was looking at before the phone rang, and it was the image of Colossians 3:23, and says “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not man” and just felt convicted, like this thought of “did you just pay attention to what you just read?” While work is now cursed because of the fall, we are called to work hard for Christ and his mission here on earth, and to do it without grumbling or complaining, as Paul tells us in Philippians 2:12. Jesus I’m begging and pleading that you would help us to be men who work hard for you, and do it without any grumbling or complaining and that we would be grateful for everything you have done for us.

  6. Adam Freeman says:

    Some days I live my job, some days I dread having to wake up and go back to work but I try my hardest to do so for my family.

  7. Jake says:

    God you did really give us the right to be frustrated.

    There are so many times I find myself frustrated because of my ADHD, that I forgot something at again or I broke or lost something, or that I got too caught up in my own thoughts that I made an obvious and crucial mistake.

    I’m tired of that! I’m tired of being the guy that people can’t rely on because he’s too oblivious! And I find it encouraging that, in a way, I’m right to feel that way. ADHD is not how mankind was designed to be. You designed me for better than that. I long and yearn for redemption and saving.

    Maybe that’s what I’m doing wrong. Every time I get frustrated in myself and my inabilities, I need to point my frustrations to the cross, while I’m frustrated. Frustration isn’t something to give up after it’s gone. I focus my anger on anger itself instead of focusing my anger to longing for Christ to return

    Sometimes I forget that you’re returning Lord. I’m sorry..

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