To kick off the Labor Day weekend, Peggy Noonan offers some timely thoughts on the meaning of work:
Joblessness is a personal crisis because work is a spiritual event. A job isn’t only a means to a paycheck, it’s more. “To work is to pray,” the old priests used to say. God made us as many things, including as workers. When you work you serve and take part. To work is to be integrated into the daily life of the nation. There is pride and satisfaction in doing work well, in working with others and learning a discipline or a craft or an art. To work is to grow and to find out who you are.
In return for performing your duties, whatever they are, you receive money that you can use freely and in accordance with your highest desire. A job allows you the satisfaction of supporting yourself or your family, or starting a family. Work allows you to renew your life, which is part of the renewing of civilization.
Work gives us purpose, stability, integration, shared mission. And so to be unable to work—unable to find or hold a job—is a kind of catastrophe for a human being.
Lester DeKoster frames things in a similar way:
We know, as soon as reminded, that work spins the wheels of the world. No work? Then nothing else either. Culture and civilization don’t just happen. They are made to happen and to keep happening—by God the Holy Spirit, through our work…
…Our working puts us in the service of others; the civilization that work creates puts others in the service of ourselves. Thus, work restores the broken family of humankind… Through work that serves others, we also serve God, and he in exchange weaves the work of others into a culture that makes our work easier and more rewarding…As seed multiplies into a harvest under the wings of the Holy Spirit, so work multiplies into a civilization under the intricate hand of the same Spirit.
Read Noonan’s full column here.
Purchase Lester DeKoster’s Work: The Meaning of Your Life.