Monday, June 20, 2011

30 days of work in the home

See the post for Monday, June 20, 2011 at the Merry Rose for a discussion of the fact that doing work with our hands releases feel good chemicals into our bloodstream. One of the most beautiful images in Proverbs 31 is of the worthy woman who works with eager hands in delight, who stretches out her hand to the distaff, whose hands grasp the spindle, who extends her hands to the poor and stretches out her hands to the needy and whose life's work is partly evidenced by the product of her hands. The picture of this woman who is so busy with her hands is one of a woman who is happy in her work and whose handiwork benefits her family and community.

Now, science has given us explanations for why we find that quiet work with our hands is so satisfying. It may be hard to get started on such tasks, but, once we do, a cycle is set up in which our bodies actually reward us with the pleasure of meaningful work and we wish to do such work again. I've covered the scientific side in my post at the Merry Rose.

The scientists who have discovered these built-in biological rewards for working with our hands generally believe that this is a survival mechanism built into our pysches and our bodies through blind evolution. Personally, I think this is a created response given to us by a Creator who, Himself, finds satisfaction in good work (See Genesis 1). I believe that He has put this part of His Image into our nature. He wants us to find satisfaction in our work. While it's true that the fall of man has added pain and frustration to tasks that were originally meant only to be productive and fulfilling, we find that work does add meaning to our lives. Working with our hands to produce concrete results is some of the most meaningful work we can do.

While God may not work with hands exactly as we do, we do find many places in the scriptures where it says that he delights in his works. Certainly, when Jesus came to us in human form, he knew the pleasure of doing good work with his hands. He was, as we know, a carpenter's son. Later on, he used his hands to heal and to make whole. What could be more satisfying than that?

Most importantly, Jesus stretched his hands out on a cross and died for us. That act caused him pain. But he endured it for the joy set before him of seeing many saved. He rose again.

What was one thing he did right after rising from the dead? He cooked fish for his friends.

How happy we can be in doing good with our hands, not just because of a physical reaction -- though that is welcome -- but because of the spiritual satisfaction of pleasing and imitating our Lord!

Happy Home Keeping.

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