Tending Paradise: Why Monday doesn’t have to suck.

On the first day of school each fall, my teachers would have us draw a picture (lots of fun) or write an essay (not nearly as much fun) called “How I Spent My Summer.” We didn’t vacation when I was a kid, so while others were drawing paradise pictures of plane rides to Hawaii I was drawing pictures of my brothers and I playing in a landfill and whacking each other with blunt objects.

My dad took maybe a half-dozen vacations his entire life. Dad was a mechanic working twelve hour days, six days a week, and working for little thanks and even less pay. The way my memory has it, Dad wasn’t much of a complainer though. He worked because to him it was what a dad was supposed to do. And through his hard work, Dad earned a reputation as someone who was trustworthy, excellent in his craft, and pleasant to deal with.

Today I’m heading back to work after a lengthy vacation. Many others are also heading back to work or school today after the holidays. Holidays and vacations are great as long as I’m not misled into believing that I was created for them. Work was part of God’s plan for mankind since long before sin made this such a fallen and messed-up place to live. Work was part of what made Eden paradise because although Eden was perfect, it still needed tending. After Adam and Eve sinned, maybe what took the pleasure out of work was being separated from everlasting life just as much as it was being kicked out of Eden. Jesus came to restore life. He offered God’s original perspective — a perspective of life — for all which had become broken. When it came to work, Jesus didn’t tell people to quit working — instead He gave them God’s perspective for their work (e.g., stop cheating people; fish for men).

A number of years ago I read a book entitled Thank God It’s Monday by Wiiliam Diehl. The premise was that people wrongly think the low point of the week is the weekend and that the high point is Friday. In contrast, Diehl said, we were created to work. We were made for Monday.

If my Monday sucks, perhaps what I need is God’s perspective. My job is offering people hope and life — restoring Paradise — through my attitude, words and actions. Be it cleaning rat cages (done that), standing in an assembly line (done that, too), or teaching students (doing that), my job is restoring Paradise. I restore Paradise by making this world a little bit better for those around me through what I create. I restore Paradise by sincerely caring about everyone I encounter. Armed with this perspective, maybe I’ll draw a picture about my day when I get home tonight.

Calvin G. Roso © January 2014

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