top of page
  • Writer's picturePaul Cho

How can we cultivate hope in our work?

How can we maintain hope when we have a bad day at work? We live in a world filled with so much evil. How can we continue working in this world without losing a sight of beautiful hope we have in Christ? And when we do have a bad day at work, how can we remind ourselves that our work is not in vain?

For example, a Christian lawyer may be disappointed to see so much injustice in the world, even after many years of practicing law. A Christian doctor may be disappointed to see patients still dying despite providing the best care to save lives. A Christian politician may be disappointed to see so much racism in society, despite hard efforts to bring about reconciliation.

As Christians, living day to day and trying to bring God's kingdom into this world, it can be difficult to work without losing a sight of hope. How can we continue to work towards our goals while maintaining our sight on the hope?

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul describes the glorious resurrection of our physical bodies which will happen when Jesus comes back to the world. Then, at the end of the chapter, Paul says in verse 58:

"Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work [Ergo] of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor [Kopos] is not in vain."

According to Paul, our work in this world is not in vain because of the physical, bodily resurrection of our bodies. This implies the renewal and transformation of our creation, as stated in Romans 8:19-23. It is important to note that the types of work Paul describes in this verse are not just "spiritual" types of works. The Greek words used here for work and labor are "ergo" and "kopos." These same Greek words appear in 1 Thessalonians 2:9, where they are used to describe Paul's work as a tent-maker in the marketplace.

When Paul says that our work and labor will not be in vain in light of our bodily resurrection and renewal of God's creation, he means that everything we do for the Lord, whether it's related to spiritual or physical activities, is not in vain, because God will use our works to renew all things and bring His Kingdom to the world (Rom. 8:19-23; Rev 21). Therefore, our work in this world is not pointless. Through our work, God is preparing for the final day of the Lord when Christ will return to renew all things in this creation (Romans 8:19-23; Revelation 21).

We see this play out in David's life. Despite his sinfulness, David had a heart for the Lord. When he became king, he desired to build a temple for the Lord. However, God instructed David that his son Solomon would be the one to construct the temple. This must have been devastating news for David, but he did not give up. Instead, he laid the groundwork for Solomon and prepared for the temple project.

In 1 Chronicles 29:2-4, David says,

"So I have provided for the house of my God, so far as I was able, the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, and wood. Moreover, in addition to all that I have provided for the holy house, I have a treasure of my own gold and silver, and because of my devotion to the house of my God I give it to the house of my God: 3,000 talents of gold, 7,000 talents of refined silver."

Even though David was not able to build the temple, he engaged in extensive activities to prepare for the project. Solomon then worked on David's preparations and finished building the temple of the Lord.

Our work in this world is similar to David's work. As Christian lawyers, we are called to bring justice that reflects God's justice in the new heaven. As Christian doctors, we are called to provide the best medical care that reflects God's healing in the new heaven. As Christian engineers, we are called to bring well-ordered infrastructure to society that reflects God's sustaining work in the new heaven. As Paul says, all of our works on this earth are not wasted. These works serve as preparation for the institution of Christ's kingdom in the new heaven. They are meant to act as signs that will point people towards God's kingdom, which is coming into the world.

Even though King David did not see the completion of the temple project, he prepared for it with hope and died in peace knowing that Solomon would finish the work. We too can work in this world with perseverance and hope, knowing that Christ will come one day to finish the good work.

The ministry of John the Baptist was to prepare the way for the Lord. Similarly, our work in this world is not in vain, as God is working through us to prepare the heavenly city where our Lord will bring perfect justice, impeccable beauty, and complete healing, as Paul reminds us. Despite the disappointments we may face in this world, we can work for the Lord with hope, as Jesus promised us in Revelation 22:20:

"Surely I am coming soon!"

45 views0 comments


bottom of page