Pastor Chris continues in our “Ever’day I’m Hustlin’ series with Part 4, Thursday. The bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek, and when it was translated into English there is some syntax that is lost in the translation. There is a word in Hebrew that is used just short of 300 times in the Old Testament that gives us a great picture into our work in life. But is not just simply translated into work, but also in service, and worship. This word is “avodah.” Tim Keller (pastor, theologian, and Christian apologist) defines work as “rearranging the raw materials of a particular domain for the flourishing of everyone.” To be human is to be a worker, charged by God to take the goodness of the creation and to make much of it, to the end that the common good is served and that others flourish and prosper. So how do we “work” or “avodah” for Christ in our daily life? Adam was called to avodah the garden for Christ. His act of worship was to take care of the garden. The other way that we see this word, avodah, used in in reference to service; to serve another person. Deuteronomy 10:12 in the Message translation says, “So now Israel, what do you think God expects from you? Just this: Live in his presence in holy reverence, follow the road he sets out for you, love him, serve God, your God, with everything you have in you, obey the commandments and regulations of God that I’m commanding you today—live a good life.” This is lived out in the way that we use our time, energy and finances. Avodah is also used to describe worship. We see this in Exodus when Moses is getting instruction from God on what He mission in Egypt was going to be. To free the Israelite people from slavery under Pharaoh. “When you have brought the people out of Egypt you will worship (avodah) God on this mountain.” (Exodus 3:12) God desired for His people to worship Him but were unable because of their slavery under Pharaoh. The exact words that Moses was given to say to Pharaoh on behalf of Yahweh (Heavenly Father) included the word avodah. “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people so, so that they may worship (avodah) me.'” (Exodus 8:1) Avodah has provided a framework for understanding that my work is a means by which I can both worship God and serve my neighbors.
While we can worship through our work, we must not worship our work. Avodah is the pathway to getting this right. How do you Avodah?