We all have work to do: homework, housework, yard work, business work, ministry work, whatever. How do we know when we’re doing good work? How is good work measured? I found this from Eugene Peterson this morning in reviewing my journal:
“Real workers, skilled workers, practice negative capability—the suppression of self so that the work can take place on its own. St. John the Baptist’s ‘I must decrease, but he must increase’ is embedded in all good work. When we work well, our tastes, experiences, and values are held in check so that the nature of the material or the person or the process or our God is as little adulterated or compromised by our ego as possible. The worker in the work is a self-effacing servant. If the worker shows off in his or her work, the work is ruined and becomes bad work—a projection of ego, an indulgence of self.” (Eugene Peterson. The Contemplative Pastor. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishers, 1989, p. 101-02.)
Peterson’s idea here is that I must not get in the way of the work God is giving me. I don’t work to highlight myself. Work is an expression of my identity in Christ. Work does not establish my sense of identity (Tweet This). What I do is an expression of who I am. What I do does not establish who I am. Good work is not about showing what I can do, but increasingly showing off the good work God is doing in and through me.
- What work has God put before you today?
- How might that work be an expression of God’s work in and through you, empowered by the Spirit of God in you?
- How and where is God inviting you to decrease so that He might increase?