Ever Heard This Before?
“It’s not what you do that matters, it’s who you are.”
Ever heard that before?
It’s a nice idea. A great pacifier to what seems to be a destructive pattern of the world: Perform at the expense of who you are. Or to use an old turn of phrase, “Sell your soul to the company store.”
But what if it’s not true? What if what you do actually does matter? What if what you do is actually a part of who you are?
Follow that idea and you could end up in the same place the world does, just by a different path. Maybe you won’t sell your soul, but instead you’ll sell the company store… and become a location independent travel blogger. (Kidding. Sort of.) The end result is the same no matter what you sell: An attempt to separate what you do from who you are.
In Genesis the first thing God does with Adam is hire him for His landscaping firm. He gives him a job to do.
“Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground…Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.”
Before the fall, there was work… and it was good. With the fall everything became tainted… not so good, including work. And the pitfall that was introduced was looking to work to define our value. Thus began the soul-selling.
So yes, we should reject the notion that we do defines our value. That’s fallen. Go ahead and paint your sign, grab your stakes, and picket – don’t sell your soul to the company store!
But don’t quit your job at the store, either.
When we reject work or try to separate it from who we are, we separate ourselves from ourselves. Ultimately we lose part of who we are. God says what we do matters and is intricately linked to who we are.
What God has joined let no man separate.
Don’t we want what we do to matter? Isn’t it good news that God has a purpose for us in the present? Isn’t it good to know that what we do with our time can actually bring glory to Him and good to the world around us?
Maybe we don’t have to separate work and identity. Maybe we we could integrate them. Maybe what we do doesn’t have to define who we are, but can become expression of who we are.
Imagine if you weren’t constantly trying to minimize the amount of hours you work but instead were able to maximize the value and worth in the hours we work.
For more content like this, check out the recent sermon series Life*