What Should I Study If I Want Good Work?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
3877821879 6d00fa11c3 z 1

Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them.

Psalm 111:2

At one time or another, most of us have asked the question, “What should I study if I want good work?” We may have asked this question as we pondered possible majors in college. Or it may have been when we considered some kind of vocational education. Or perhaps we were looking at options for graduate school. Or maybe we were wondering about returning to school after raising a family. No matter the context, we have tried to figure out what kind of education would support our desire to do good work, work that matters, work that fulfills us while making a difference in the world.

Psalm 111 offers an unexpected answer to the question, “What should I study if I want good work?” Verse 2 reads, “Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them.” The first part of this verse extols the “works” of God. You might well say it focuses on God’s own work, on what God does in the world. And what does this divine work include? Surely part of God’s work is creation itself, the forming and upholding of the natural world. But Psalm 111 draws our attention to God’s work on behalf of his people, giving them food, land, trustworthy laws, and redemption from slavery. All of these works are part of God’s work.

The second half of verse 2 adds that God’s works are “pondered by all who delight in them.” It’s not enough simply to enjoy God’s blessings, though we certainly ought to “delight” in the things God does. The psalmist invites us to “ponder” God’s works. The Hebrew verb translated here as “ponder” is darash, which is the basic verb meaning “to seek.” In our context, it means “to ponder” (NIV) or “to study” (ESV, NRSV). The Message reads, “GOD’s works are so great, worth a lifetime of study—endless enjoyment!”

God’s works, or as we might say, God’s work is indeed worth a lifetime of study. This endeavor will certainly enrich our understanding of God and add to our joy. But it will also help us know how to work better, to work with more meaning. If you want good work, why not study the work of the greatest Worker of all? You don’t even have to apply for admission to God’s school. His work is before you each day, as you marvel at the clouds or notice the leaves beginning to change in early fall. God’s work is displayed prominently throughout Scripture. God’s work is celebrated as we gather with his people for worship and as we come together to his table.

What should you study if you want good work? Study the work of God and delight in it!

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When you think of God’s work, what comes to mind? When you begin to reflect on God’s work, what seems significant to you? How might your work today be shaped by God’s work in the cosmos and in history?

PRAYER: O God, when I stand back to gaze upon your work, I am astounded. I consider the vast expanse of the heavens, the rich hues of a sunset, the intricacy of every leaf, every blade of grass. Your work boggles my mind and fills my heart with wonder.

Then there’s your work in history, beginning with the creation of human beings. You remain faithful when we have been faithless, redeeming and caring for us, molding us by your merciful strength to become more like what you created us to be. You have shown us your love most of all in Jesus Christ. How great and gracious are your works, Lord.

Even as I delight in all that you have done, may I learn from your work how I might work. Help me to be a person of vision and creativity. Teach me to care about the small things as well as the big things. May my work be an exercise of grace as you work through me to bless others. By studying your work, Lord, may I work more like you. Amen.


Mark Roberts is the Executive Director of Digital Media and the Theological and Cultural Steward for Foundations for Laity Renewal. He is the author of eight books, including No Holds Barred: Wrestling with God in Prayer. He lives in Boerne, Texas, with his wife, Linda. Their children spend most of the year away at college on the East Coast.

Keep Calm

"Upheaval" is something most of us dislike, especially when it applies to our work situation. When the corporate structure changes or we're forced into an uncomfortable position, how do we respond? Maybe we cope by denying anything's wrong and carrying on as if we're not upset. If we're a "Ready, Aim, Fire!" kind of person, we might strike out at people around us before seeking God's wisdom. Either approach can backfire, leaving us in more of a chaotic situation than before. In our series Keep Calm, The High Calling offers stories full of hard-won wisdom and practical ideas for coping with extreme—and often unwanted—changes in the workplace.

Featured image by harold.lloyd. Used with Permission. Source via Flickr.