All of us, even those confined to a bed, work. Our work may involve managing a huge company, a Sunday School class, a family, or even just our own healthcare. An old Russian singer-songwriter Bulat Okudzhava wrote, "Work is work, there's always work."
Sometimes our work is easy, and wonderfully fulfilling. Especially when it involves making life better for others in some way, our work can seem like holy service. For which we can be most grateful.
But what about the times when work is drudgery? When it is hard and slow, and requires vast attention to detail? What about the times when we do not see our work as valuable, maybe because others don't see it as valuable? Then it's difficult to be grateful for work. And it might cross our minds that it is punishment. Could it be that the toil spoken of in Genesis 3 is our lot? When work feels a lot like the exhausting wrestling with angels much stronger than we are, what to do?
The truth is that none of us know completely how our efforts affect others. It's lovely to feel good about our work, and to receive lots of good response to it. Sometimes, though, it's only long after that we discover the impact we have had on other people. As we wrestle with the angels at work, maybe the best thing is to pray that our work, whatever it is, will be of service to God and to God's people. After that, it's God's responsibility to use it in the best way.
Returning over and over throughout the work time to this attitude requires discipline--more wrestling with angels.