Curse or Blessing?

Onoda leaves the jungle after 29 years. The adventurer who found him, Norio Suzuki, is on the left.
Shoichi Yokoi hid for almost 30 years on the American island of Guam, only being rediscovered early in 1972.

When I was young, stories of stragglers would sometimes hug newspaper headlines. To me, they were both amusing and weird. Stragglers are Japanese soldiers who were still hiding in Philippine jungles, when the second world war was already over, thinking that the war was still going on. For them, their surroundings did not change, and so, they concluded that nothing has changed. Too scared to come out, they stayed there and the longer they were there, the more they were afraid to come out. They suffered an abnormal life, missing the peace and progress that is already going on outside. They survived from anything they can eat in the jungle and missed their relatives and friends and normal life back home.

To get them out, a Japanese team would be sent to enter the jungle and extricate them from their place which they inhabited for decades. When they were brought to their homeplace, there were tearful reunions with their parents and brothers and sisters and sometimes, children. You can just imagine the kind of celebration they had, the joy of the lost but now found guy when he starts to eat his favorite sushi once again. Those stories became our conversation topic until the news died down.

Some people are just like those stragglers. They still think work is under a curse and even if one does not know that there was a curse on work, they act like there is. Remember Genesis 3:17 “Cursed is the ground for your sake, in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you.“ This happened after the fall of Adam and Eve. But Galatians 3:13 says that the curse has been broken and work has been redeemed. “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us, that the blessing of Abraham might come upon us.” Work is beautiful in God’s perspective. It fulfills man when he expresses God’s image and likeness because that is what he is created to be. To create the entire universe, God worked. He created man in His image and likeness. Then he assigned man a garden to work on and thrive.

To work is to thrive, not just to survive.

How can we get away from a kind of work that looks like a curse? Colossians 3:23 gives us the way to redemption. “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance, for you serve the Lord Christ.” It is not a change of place that we need, but a change in our thinking. Look, Jesus went to the cross for this. Surely, he wants to promote you to where you should be. So now, we can be thankful when we work. We can now work full of hope and purpose other than just to survive. He who called us is faithful to fulfill His promises. We are free and the talents and gifting that God gave us can now begin to flow. God’s grace becomes abundant in the workplace, if we have faith and act on that faith, because work that creates value and blesses others pleases God.

But to work thinking that our work is cursed? It is like living like the straggler, being free, yet living in fear and insisting otherwise.

How should you plan your career or work?