Chapter 53

Work Wins?

Many people come to church after a work week that did R-rated violence to their spirit. How your message can restore their soul.

I have an old black and white photograph, dated 1909, showing seven Scandinavian young people sitting up straight and solemn in a row, posing for their graduation picture. My grandfather is among them. Over them is a banner with their class motto: "Work Wins." An immigrant creed, if ever there was one. Problem is, I can never look at the picture without taking the sign the wrong way: Work Wins (and You Lose).

The first time I thought of it that way was when I was preaching from Genesis 3 and the curse on Adam. "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life." See what I mean? Work wins.

Work, of course, predates the Fall; God gave us work to do that we might reflect his image. Work is good. It is meant to ennoble and enrich.

But work was infected with sin, and now it can be not only deadly dull, but just plain deadly. Work became "painful toil." The "thorns and thistles" God promised Adam now grow ...

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