Having extolled the virtues of Play and Rest I also wanted to add that I do also value work (Not just because I like Mars Bars, Cue memorable 1980’s-90’s ad slogan!). Work, Rest and Play are all key to life and creativity. I’m also back at work today after a very refreshing and brilliant amount of rest and play over Christmas.
Lets face it,work, if we have a job/vocation/course of study etc is a pretty significant part of our life and we spend a fair amount of our time doing it! The range of roles and skills required in our society is vast and incredible and being able to contribute
The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity is brilliant at inspiring creative thinking about the value and significance of the workplace. They launch a new initiative on 9th January called The Work Forum which will further enhance the impact and opportunities for Christians to see the value of their work and their role in the workplace.
Work can be a great source of inspiration, creativity, outworking of our passions, calling and making use of the skills and gifts that we have nurtured and been given for use. Its also a great opportunity, in any sphere of vocation as a Christian to ‘outwork and demonstrate our faith in action’ as the book of James says, Faith without works is dead (James 2: 14-26)
However I appreciate that especially in times like these for many work is a serious source of strain and stress as we may be grappling with unemployment or redundancy. Work can also a great source of exploitation and injustice for many people as they face conditions of inhuman treatment and in many cases exploitation. I’m painfully aware that I often know so very little about the process or journey that many products I take for granted and buy have gone through and in many cases the quite literal painful labour that has been offered to get the product to market.
Its simply wrong that so many people are paid so poorly, work in such terrible conditions and don’t often receive a fair price for their time or resources. But out of such anguish and disillusion there is hope. I’ve been privileged to see how communities and families in Malawi, India and Kenya have benefited from being given hope through being treated more justly and fairly, by setting up their own co-operatives and micro finance initiatives and gaining the skills and confidence to work or set up their own business. Empowering people through energy and creativity is a true inspiration and a true antidote to the notion that change cannot happen. Through passionate creativity the Fair Trade initiative has literally saved and enhanced the lives of thousands and this is one story or example among so many of how passionate creative work can bring hope and change.