Work v. Drudgery

After working a lot over the course of several weeks a friend asked me how I felt. “You’re working pretty hard. Does it feel like work?” I realized it didn’t feel like work, but at the same time realized my terminology needs adjusting. The better wording would have been does it feel like drudgery? What I was doing was hard work but it wasn’t drudgery.

Something I missed for years is that the Christian story of the world includes work. Before everything went wrong there was work to do. Work in the Garden, not just the garden. It’s only after the break with God that work morphed into a four letter word.


It is still good to work though. And some work takes us back to the better place. The place where toil and thorns and sweat had not yet become standard.  The time before weekends were worshipped because they represent escape.  Good work suits the way we are made.  Good work is not work for money, it is work that cultivates something both in us and around us.  It brings order to our souls and the souls of others.  Good work is not fancy work.  It can be straining to muscle as much as mind.  Good work is gardening.  It is taking the things God made and growing them for us and for the well being of others.  It is mothering and HVAC, and writing and cooking.

I have to think that the same story of the world that said, “it is not good for man to be alone,” must imply it is not good for man to be idle…it is good to work.  If our work is drudgery, we either need a chance of perspective or a change in vocation or both.