Work is a good gift from God. One that is meant to be enjoyed, honored, and pursued with excellence to the glory of God and love for our neighbor. Our culture and corrupt nature have warped what God created and called “very good” in Genesis 1:31 into a necessary evil of life—one that must be endured, escaped, or avoided at all costs. From our earliest days, work has been seen and modeled as a means to an end (a way to make money), a path to gain notoriety or power, or a punishment for sin. We dream of retirement, spending days on a golf course, or uninterrupted hours with the freedom to pursue our personal hobbies, interests, and desires—days when we no longer need to work.
Yet, this is far from the good gift God gave our first parents in Eden. Moments after creation, “God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). This is before the serpent, before the forbidden fruit, and before the curse of sin had tainted all that our Creator had perfectly made. Man was created to work, and this was a good thing; sin and its effects turned this gift into toil and turmoil. Yet the work of Christ transforms our toil. His life, death, and resurrection redeem us, including our understanding of work and our place in His Kingdom.
This is what I have the privilege of modeling, teaching, and encouraging at FLBCS. At any given time, I have more than a dozen college students and recent graduates in my employ. Our mission at FLBCS is simple, to “establish students in the eternal and inerrant Word of God for a life of faith in Jesus Christ and faithful service in His kingdom.” The part I get to play in carrying out this is simple and rewarding—helping my employees see that they are created to serve Christ in their everyday work, developing them into leaders according to their individual abilities, and launching them into a life of faithful service in God’s Kingdom.
Five principles help guide our way. First, we pursue excellence in all we do. This isn’t defined by a lack of mistakes or failures. Instead, we do the best we can every day with the resources we have in the time available to us. With this aim, anyone can end the day feeling fulfilled and satisfied.
Second, we encourage accountability and keeping commitments to our employer and fellow coworkers. Being late, not showing up, or not completing a task affects our coworkers. It’s a matter of integrity.
Third, we work hard to cultivate a culture where failure is not to be feared, but a normal part of the learning process.
Fourth, work matters to us. We help our students make the connection between their labor and the mission of the school. Cutting grass, washing windows, fueling vans, and, yes, shoveling snow are vital parts of moving forward the mission of FLBCS and the greater Kingdom of God. In this daily service, we are loving God and our neighbor well.
Last, we take ownership of what we do and do not do. We repent when needed, forgive when needed, and assume ownership and care over what is entrusted to us.
Work is a good gift from God, and working alongside these young men and women is God’s good gift to me. I’ve been given a front row seat to watch their growth and am often an influential voice in their lives as they process the plethora of choices before them. I love reminding them that serving God and loving people is done in every vocation of life.
Eric Christenson [FLBCS facilities director] is a member of Solid Rock Free Lutheran, Anoka, Minn.
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