When Work Becomes Worship

Ben Van Arragon

Read: Isaiah 5:8-12

They have lyre and harp . . . and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord. (v. 12)

In the Promised Land, God required a careful accounting of every family in Israel. God’s purpose was an equitable, per capita distribution of the new country. God refers to the land as his “inheritance.” God institutes laws to ensure that each family in Israel keeps its land. In so doing, God also inhibits unrestrained personal wealth. In Isaiah 5, God condemns a social class who have used the acquisition of land to become exponentially wealthier than they need to be. Why?

Because in the process, these people have created a false god. An idol is not necessarily an explicitly religious object. It is any created thing that has taken the place of the Creator in a human heart. God’s rightful role is the provider of our needs, the giver of comfort and security, and the recipient of our greatest devotion. It is human instinct to secure more material wealth than we need as a way of ensuring we will never be without. How do we do it? Work more. In the process we devote the best portions of our time and strength to the work.

God graciously invites us back into right relationship. God urges us to seek him first. God offers us true significance and unshakeable security. God allows us to put work back in its rightful place, as he takes his rightful place at the center of our hearts. —Ben Van Arragon

Prayer: Great God, receive my life, and work, as offerings of worship.