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  • Writer's picturePaul Cho

Do you care about beauty at work?

Do you care about beauty? If you're like me, someone who is only concerned with the practical aspects of life, you might not care about how beautiful a cup is. To me, a cup's purpose is just to help me drink water - nothing more, nothing less. So, why should we care about beauty at work?

I never fully understood my wife's mantra of "Everything should be beautiful. The cup should be beautiful. The plates should be beautiful. The folded laundry should be beautiful. Everything should be beautiful," until I read Genesis 2:9:

And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

In the creation story, God's purpose in making a tree is not merely practical, that is, to provide food. Rather, God creates a tree that is also aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Furthermore, God does not create subpar or mediocre food, but rather, food that is good and comes from a beautiful tree. In essence, the creation account reveals that God created the world with excellence and beauty.

As I read this verse, I immediately understood why my wife values the beauty of the world. When she takes pleasure in looking at beautiful objects, she is reflecting God, her creator, who also values the beauty of the world. This insight made me wonder, how can we integrate beauty into our work environments?

My wife, Esther, works in a retail store. Occasionally, when the company brings in new products, she is responsible for displaying and merchandising them on the floor. Whenever she shows me pictures of her work, I am mesmerized. I always ask her, "How did you do this?" Esther organizes and displays the products in an engaging and pleasing way that intrigues everyone who enters the store.

However, how can we work beautifully if we do not work in a fashion-related industry? Martin Luther King Jr. once said:

If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, like Shakespeare wrote poetry, like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets so well that all the host of Heaven and earth will have to pause and say, “Here lived a great street sweeper, who swept his job well.

The point is, it really doesn't matter what our vocation is. When we approach our work with our best effort and pay close attention to details for God and our neighbors, we can make our work beautiful to people and even to God. I remember when I worked as a building manager, I had to clean many never-washed, dirty toilets. But I believed this dirty work mattered to the Lord, so I tried to clean the toilets to the best of my abilities. I hope that the clean toilets were pleasing to the new tenants and to the Lord.

God cares about beauty and works beautifully in this world. Therefore, we too should work beautifully. When we give our best for the Lord, our work will be pleasing to Him as well as to our neighbors. Is your work beautiful?

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