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Theological Reflections on Work

             "Work for the night is coming, Work thro" the morning hours;.
             Work while the dew is sparkling, Work "mid springing flowers;.
             Work, when the day grows brighter, Work in the glowing sun;.
             Work for the night is coming, When man's work is done.".
             The above words are from a poem written by Anna L. Coggill in 1860. There are two more verses, and Lowell Mason set the words to music in 1864. I remember singing this hymn as a young person in Sunday school. I remember learning to play the hymn on the piano. I do not remember thinking much about the subject of work at the time. Work was far off in the distance. It is the intent of this paper to examine issues addressed in scripture regarding work, and the work ethic in both cultural and cross-cultural frameworks. First, work will be addressed in a general context. Then, the employers" and the employees" responsibilities will be discussed. Finally, multi-cultural issues, as they relate to the workplace, will be examined.
             Work In General.
             Snoopy, in the comic strip Peanuts, has been known to say that, "work is the crabgrass on the lawn of life". Garfield, in his comic strip, indicates that, "work is like fingernails on the blackboard of life".
             What does the Bible say about work? Actually, it says quite a bit, beginning in the third chapter of Genesis. Here, God drives Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden. God tells Adam that, "he will work the ground and it will grow with weeds and thistles"; God tells Adam, "In the sweat of your face you will eat bread!".
             Does this mean that work as we know it is a curse? Is it a result of our sin, a symbol of our separation from God? Before Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, God provided everything. After eating the infamous fruit, this changed. God no longer provided for all their needs directly. God began to provide for their needs as they contributed to the process. The only thing Adam and Eve continued to receive for free, was God" grace or forgiveness.

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