Tonight we celebrated ‘Plough Sunday’, looking at the world of work through the eyes of our congregation. Work is God’s idea. In itself, it’s not sinful; we were created to work: ‘The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.’ (Gen 2:15) Work is where we spend the majority of our waking time as adults; if you’re working full-time (37 hours or more), you will spend about a quarter of your time every week on work alone.

Our work matters to God, and He has given us all skills and talents which can often be expressed through our work.In the Bible, we read about many people in the workplace: Joseph, Daniel, Nehemiah, David, Moses, Ezra and the ‘wife of noble character’ in Proverbs 31, to name a few. We read about shepherds, administrators, cupbearers to foreign kings, priests, architects, carpenters, business managers and so on. My personal favourites are Bezalel and Oholiab, creative artists filled with God’s Spirit whose metalwork and gemmology were used by God to enhance the Tabernacle, turning it from a place of functionality to a place of beauty. Throughout the Bible, we see work as something which is a gift from God and a way we can serve God and other people.

We learned about previous employment (Joan used to be a cleaner and Dave used to read gas meters, hence the meter key.)

We learned about the world of technicians, civil engineers and Garry’s work in the Robotics department at the University of Sheffield:

Garry even brought in a kilobot to show us!

Julie’s work in preaching and teaching from God’s word was represented by a sword (see Eph 6:17, Heb 4:12):

Work is not limited to paid employment, even though for most of us between the ages of 16 and our late sixties, that takes up most of our time. Volunteering (working without pay) can be a useful form of work for many people. Janet volunteered with Barnsley Superstars during the first lockdown, a group which made over 10,000 face coverings for people in our area to use.

She has also been involved with packing gifts bags for the Dearne Churches Together events:

Whatever our age, we can be involved in working for God, in being His ambassadors wherever we are. We prayed for all in our congregation (many of whom are classed as key workers and are still going out to work). Others are working from home. We continue to pray for all key workers (including those we know working in the NHS and in schools), for those juggling work and homeschooling and for those who need to find new jobs or who face increasing uncertainty in their jobs as well as for those who have retired from paid employment and are still serving God in different ways. We prayed too for children and young people as they continue their work (some at home, some in school) and for God to bless us all in our ‘frontlines’ of work, wherever these are.