When I got married, somehow I thought that it would lighten my workload. We’d share chores, and he’d have a wonderful job so that I could have a part-time job (or no job) and I’d have lots of time for writing, gardening and all the things that I would love to have time for. Well, that’s not what happened. The man of my dreams is a seminary student—which means I work a full-time job and do most of the chores (which somehow tripled when a man was added to the equation) while he slaves away over piles of books to read and papers that need to be written.
Sometimes things just don’t turn out the way we expect. And so, my task is to be happy about it or at least not be grumbly about it (Phil 2:14) because this is what God has for me to do. So my spiritual lessons lately have been around the subject of contentment (Yep, that’s right. You still have to “learn contentment” after you get married. Surprise! It’s a lifelong journey…) and seeing the value in the work that I’ve been asked to do.
So here are some things that have helped me to battle my discontent with work:
- Scripture (specifically these verses): “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). And, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24).
- Thankfulness. I’ve been memorizing Colossians this year and have been reminded of the importance of being thankful. It’s a theme that Paul reminds the Colossians about often (Col 1:3; Col 1:9-12; Col 2:6-7; Col 3:15-17; Col 4:2). Colossians 2:6-7 has really stuck out to me during this season: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” There’s so much to be thankful for—every breath, every blade of grass, every flower petal is a gift.
- Servanthood. Whatever my job happens to be, it is an opportunity for ministry. The people around me that I spend 39 hrs a week with are people that are loved by God. I’ve been placed where I am (and you’ve been placed where you are) to be an ambassador for Christ, a minister on his behalf (2 Cor 5:2).
- Working women have been vital to God’s plans throughout the years. Women supported Jesus in his ministry “out of their means” (Luke 8:1-3). Lydia was a dealer in purple cloth (Acts 16:14), which was not cheap fabric, and she hosted the church in her home (Acts 16:40) in Thyatira. The Proverbs 31 woman had a vineyard (Prov 31:16) and sold clothing (Prov 31:24) to supplement their household income. For these women drawing an income provided an opportunity to bless others. I want to do the same.
- Work is good. God put Adam and Eve into the Garden to tend it before the Fall. Work is part of God’s good creation and plan for us as His Image bearers. So whether it’s in the home or outside of the home, our work should be done to the glory of God for the good of others.
I know that this is a season of life that will change at some point. Who knows what the Lord has next in store for my husband and me? But whatever situation I find myself in, I pray that I will work hard for the Lord and find contentment in knowing that my labor for Him is not in vain.