What Are You Working On?
Work, work, work. The word of God commands it, while society demands it. No matter who you are or where you come from, every single person in the world is required to work in some way. Between the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening, we are all working on something. Whether it be a job that pays wages, duties around the house, or assignments given through education, no one is exempt from working. Studies show that the number of teenagers in the workforce has increased over the last several years. With higher education costs skyrocketing and employment opportunities being widespread, teens are busier than ever before. Many will work multiple jobs while in high school or college. Others are filling their schedules with extra-curricular activities that are more accessible than ever before in history. The sad reality is that the neglect of work on their present brokenness is the result of teenagers never slowing down.
A student that used to be a part of a youth ministry I once led, exemplified this trend in the worst way. This individual had over the course of a few months experienced several traumatic life occurrences. Death, disappointment, and destruction. In a string of unfortunate events, they lost a loved one to sickness, a friendship due to the other individual’s negative behavior, and a vehicle after being in an accident. Instead of facing these events head-on, they chose to cope by refocusing their mind on future success.
The wiser choice would’ve been to take some time to process all that had transpired and work on his present brokenness. Success never heals a broken heart. This person instead chose to devote more time and work to their future occupation than ever before. The tragedy to their story is they never went on to pursue the career they were working towards. In fact, to this day they struggle with mental health problems, issues that very well may stem from that season of life in which they suffered great hardships.
Here’s the deal when it comes to work, God designed us all with the ability to work. He formed us in his image. An image or make-up that from the Genesis account to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we can see was capable of hard work. Furthermore, the Lord designed work to be a tool that would allow us to subdue the earth and have dominion over creation (Genesis 1:26). While work is later defined to be used as a tool for building relationships, fruitfulness/growth, and provision, we must not neglect its first intention, which was defined to be used to gain dominance over creation. When I say that, I’m not referring to working to gain power over others, but rather working to gain power over one’s own heart and mind. Therein lies the location where brokenness sets up camp. If we’re not careful we’ll let brokenness stay at our campsite while we go searching in the forest for success. When this happens, we will return to camp to find our campsite has been ransacked, leaving us with no resources to continue.
All in all, here is my two-fold message to any teenager or young adult reading this. Don’t be lazy to the point where you don’t work towards your future success. The Bible is littered with verses that speak to the necessity of working hard. But at the same time, don’t let working hard towards your future success distract you from present brokenness and the need for healing. Allow God to work on your heart whenever you feel broken. You can’t afford to be externally successful while being internally bankrupt. There are times where we all need to slow down, take some work off our plate, and spend a little extra time with the Healer.
Andrew is the proud husband to Chelsea and father to Carson. Currently, he serves as youth pastor at the First Apostolic Church of Aurora, Illinois. He has been involved in youth ministry in some capacity for the last 13 years. Additionally, He serves as the Section 12 Youth Director and Media Coordinator for Illinois Youth Ministries. On the side, he owns a creative design company called Spark Innovative Solutions. His educational background includes a BA in Psychology, (minor in Communication) from Oakland University and an M.Ed. in School Counseling from Liberty University.