Christian Living

Your Labor and the Two Great Commandments

Author Amy K. Hall Published on 08/30/2014

Take a few minutes this weekend to think about the dignity of work in general, and your work in particular. Your work, whatever it is, is your opportunity to glorify God by serving others. From Jordan Ballor:

The first great commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” We are to love God in all we do. This includes that portion of our day which we spend at work. We are, quite simply, to show our love of God in our work.

It is one thing, however, to say that we are to love God in our work. It is quite another to do so. What does loving God in our work really look like?

It is here that the second great commandment comes to the fore: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” As the Christian writer Lester DeKoster puts it, at its core “work is the form in which we make ourselves useful to others.” It is in putting ourselves in the service of others that our work also finds meaning. For in making ourselves useful to others, we do for them as we would have them do for us.

And this is, as DeKoster puts it, the great secret connecting work and the two great love commandments. For in making ourselves useful to others, we make ourselves useful to God. This is how we show our love for God: in serving others.

After all, that’s how he shows his love for us. The incarnation is God’s entrance into a life and death of service for human beings. The Apostle Paul makes this connection as he writes, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” He says this just before he points to the example of Christ as the one who serves others, “taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” This is the good news of Jesus Christ, for our life and death, our rest and our work.

If you’re interested in reading more about how Christianity and the Gospel relate to your work, I recommend Matt Perman’s blog and book (What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done).