The way we view work in our culture is interesting. How we spend the hours of our day defines us. We meet new people and ask, “What do you do?” They answer, “I am a ______.” Whatever we put in that blank defines us.
Not only that, but the work we do is valued based on the level of education it requires, how far we’ve advanced in our profession, and how much we earn doing that job. There’s a hierarchy of sorts, making certain kinds of work more important than others.
Since I was in middle school, I knew I wanted to help people. I remember volunteering at our local crisis pregnancy center, helping the director with various tasks and thinking, “I want a job like this one day.” And I worked hard to that end, both in my educational pursuits and in my work in the counseling field.
When my oldest son was born, we decided it would be best for our family that I stay home with him. I had to admit, as much as I believed in that decision, it was equally hard for me. My identity was wrapped up in my work. I struggled with taking on my new role as “stay at home mom.” Even now, when I attend classes and workshops to stay up to date on what is happening in the counseling field, I often stumble through introducing myself to others in the class, as everyone else introduces themselves by the work they do.
But when I think about it, I do a lot of work in my day and I labor hard at what I do. Some of it is mundane repetitive work such as that of maintaining a home: paying bills, sweeping and mopping, washing dishes. Other work involves investing in the minds and hearts of my children through discipleship and homeschooling. As a church member, I serve in discipleship ministry and host a small group in my home. As a seminary student, I learn and study. I serve my denomination in my role as editor and as Regional Adviser on the national women’s ministry team. I also labor in my writing and speaking ministry.
Whether I get paid for it or not, I am a working woman.
Because of the way our society views work, and the value it places on certain kinds of work, it is tempting to do the same in our lives as women. It’s tempting to think that mundane work isn’t important. It’s tempting to think that time spent investing in the heart of another person is wasted time. It’s tempting to think that only income producing work is valuable. But we need to remember that all things done for the glory of God is never wasted. All work that is done for God’s sake is good work, whether anyone sees it or not.
Your efforts to cook a healthy meal for your family is important work. The time you spend mentoring that college student is an eternal and valuable investment. The work you do behind the scenes that no one notices or people take for granted is important work. The job you faithfully go to each day, even though it’s not your dream job, is honoring to the Lord. While your work may not be glamorous or valuable to the world’s eyes, while you may not receive payment for your labors or the pay you receive isn’t much to write home about, it is valuable to the Lord.
All our work is valuable because of the work Christ completed for us. His holy, perfect, and righteous work of obeying the law on our behalf was given to us. “Because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). His sacrificial work at the cross paid the penalty that we were due. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). Even now, he labors for us before the throne and intercedes for us (see Rom. 8:34).
Jesus’s work reshapes our own work and makes it holy. His work paves the way for all the work that we do—the seen and the unseen, the mundane and the spectacular, the boring and the interesting, the easy and the hard. Because of the work that Christ did for us, all our work is done through him and for him. Because we are united to him by faith, God looks at all our efforts and labors and doesn’t see our failures, mistakes, blunders, and sins, but sees Jesus’s perfect work on our behalf. Jesus’s righteous work for us makes all the work we do valuable. This is good news for working women!
And God promises that our efforts to labor in his name will one day reap a harvest:
For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Gal. 6:8–10)
So whether you work in the home or outside the home, whether your work is exciting and glamorous or boring and mundane, whether you receive pay for your work or not, know that your work is valuable in the sight of God. May we as Christian women labor hard to the glory of God because of the work our Savior has done for us.
*This post is inspired by Sufficient Hope: Gospel Meditations and Prayers for Moms.