Why Work?

Jn 6:27a Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.[1]

The motivation for work. When I think of work, I think of employment, a job that earns money, food that perishes. But You tell me to work for the food that endures for eternal life. Does this mean I stop earning money to feed my family?

This is another both/and. “Work” is the focus of both phrases; work remains, but the motive is different, the focus is changed; the goal becomes eternal life. “Food that perishes” is left in the dust, that same dust to which I will return [Gen 3:19] but which now is the dust which I will shake from my shoes if others don’t accept Your teaching. [Mt 10:14] Physical food is no longer an end, but a means to enable me to take in the Food, the Word in Scripture and in His Body and Blood, which endures for eternal life. This is what the Son of Man will give, all I need to enable me to work for the Kingdom, to go and bring peace [Mt 10:12] and make disciples, baptize and teach all to observe all that You have commanded me. [Mt 28:20]

Again, it’s the will of God in the here and now, in the workplace of the world, in the corner office, the coffee boutique, the assembly line, the milking barn, the halls of congress, the courtroom, the 16-wheeler, a humvee, a cockpit, the subway station, the classroom, the kitchen, the computer lab, the repair shop. Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, God’s will rises in front of me, a great banner in the sky, a Divine ad trying to get my attention, leading me on, encouraging me to choose His Way in this decision, this choice, this moment, this meeting, this memo, this email, this tweet, this conversation, this confrontation, this research, this brief, this contract, this burger, this glance, this judgment, this thought, this action. Do I further the Kingdom or pound a nail into a God I reject? God help me!..the choice is mine.

[1] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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