Why are we even examining the topic of work? Simple: The way we view work, informs our opinions about retirement. In order to truly explore the topic of retirement, we have to first understand our bias and beliefs surrounding work.
The Goal of Work is…
My friend John has 10 Rules to Eliminate Debt and they are very helpful, heck I even subscribe and teach several of these rules to my clients.
I cannot agree with his final rule which states, “The goal of work is retirement.” In the context of his rules John pushes people to think about why they are working and fight against consumerism. I can applaud the sentiment, but can’t support the statement.
I believe work is much much more.
In the Beginning was Work
This is where my view of work diverges and takes on a much deeper meaning. In the beginning when God and Adam were hanging out in the garden (pre Eve) work existed. Yes, in this perfect world Adam had a task–a job–work to do.
He was not idly kicking back eating grapes and petting unicorns. There was work to be done. Adam’s main task was to cultivate and maintain the garden (Gen 2:15). Yes, even in paradise before the snake slithered and fruit had bite marks, work existed.
Man also had a special assignment. His special task was to give names to the animals. Adam used his time to create order, joining God in the creative process.
True, work became more difficult once Adam and Eve disturbed the created order; yet in the beginning was work and work was good.
My View of Work
In light of the above example, work is much more than punching a time clock, longing towards a retirement party and period of time where work doesn’t exist.
1. Natural- Work is part of the created order of life and thus work is good and not a curse.
2. To be Embraced. Work is not something to be avoided, but rather embraced. As we work–we are at the core embracing our humanity.
3. Holy- God himself created and performed work. As we work, we are reflecting the image of God in us.
We are most alive when we embrace the God given tasks before us and join God in creating order and beauty.
The Goal of Work is:
- To perform the tasks God has given us. There is work before us to be done on a daily basis. I doubt you’re a farmer, but there are still preverbal gardens to maintain and cultivate.
- To join God in the creative process of creating order and beauty.
I believe it is time to have a proper view of work. In the beginning was work and work was good. In A Radical View of Retirement: Work and Retirement (Part 3) we will discover how a proper view of work informs our view of retirement.
What is your view of work?