Day 32 Devotional & Discussion – March 26, 2015

Genesis 1:24-2:3;

What work are humans assigned? Would you say that work/labor is “divine punishment” for sin (see Genesis 3:16-19) or “divine calling”? If it is “divine calling”, how does that impact your work and your attitude toward your work? If it is “divine calling”, what attitude should we have toward those who cannot find employment or who work without pay or benefits?

4 comments

  1. As I have chronic pain and other health issues, work for me has sometimes seemed like punishment, especially since I lived beneath the poverty level, and worked under poor conditions. For this reason, I find that the privileged have the luxury of a “Divine calling.” I, personally feel that I have done some good work, and have been of service for the “greater good” but always in a voluntary capacity, without any compensation. This doesn’t strike me as particularly fair. For a few years, I have been on disability. I have little money, but it has been a relief, as health conditions deteriorated. I am not, by nature a very “political person,” as I never know how I will. feel on a given day, so committee work and organized activities is somewhat out of the question. So I find my “Diiviine claiming” in helping people on a personal level — buying someone a meal when I can, and being good to those close to me. For me, this is good enough. It is the best I can do.

  2. Again, I am challenged to rethink my view of work and workers. Work is not the “curse”. All types of work are “gift” and “calling”. The problem is when we place a monetary value on work and work skills. Those jobs that we deem less important receive less compensation and less honor. Those jobs that require fewer skills are viewed as demeaning. THAT, I believe, is the impact of sin in the marketplace. When we gradate the work, we immediately degrade some workers and we create class and status. As a result, some work is “below us”. If we viewed every work (and every job) as valuable and honorable, we might see a change in our destructive social arrangements. I learned this years ago as I watched people sift through my garbage for aluminum cans and drive down the alleys in their pickup trucks searching for metal. At first, I thought these scavengers were disgusting and worthless (revealing my classism). Later, I learned what an important role these people have in preserving and reusing the resources of the earth. These workers, who are denigrated in our social arrangements, are some of the most valuable members of our society. They deserve honor for the work and service they perform. They should also be highly compensated! I feel that way about CNAs, custodians and childcare workers too. One day…

  3. I view my work as a pastor as a calling, though I don’t believe I was or need to be specifically called to do it. That’s just me airing some pastoral theology dirty laundry. I serve because I want to honor God.

    As I read your post Bruce, I wonder how much of salary disparity is based on personal values. For example, back to the veterinarian. How is it that a person who cares for pets can make such a high salary? They charge a fee for a service, and the people pay that fee. The people value their pet and the service the vet provides enough to pay the fee. Obviously there are marketplace factors in play, a main one being competition, that drive prices up or down. But all things being equal, what if the people stopped valuing their pets or veterinary services to such a high degree? Would those vets not be forced to lower their prices? Perhaps as demand decreased, they might actually have to increase their prices to sustain their business/lifestyle, but in time I suspect they would be forced to lower their fees and take a lower salary.

    I’m no economics guru, but I wonder if something like this has been observed out there in the marketplace?

    My larger point is that veterinarians make huge salaries because people value their services enough to pay huge vet fees. Would not at least part of the solution be to change what people value? How do we get people to value blue collar jobs as much as white collar? We’re talking about changing the human heart!

    1. Physicians usually make even quite a bit more money, but like veterinarians, would be a highly flawed example, as not everyone has the aptitude to enter such a profession. Not everyone (myself included) could pass two years of chemistry, a year of physics…before one enters graduate school. I am greatly minimizing the background needed.

      By the way, please excuse the typing errors in these posts, as my Kindle appears to be not entirely compatible with this site.

      Rick Davis, Chicago

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