a labor hymn

In daily toil for daily bread

we sweat and strive ‘til we are dead.

With nothing new under the sun,

our chores and tasks are never done.

So the question still must lurk:

what gains are there in our work?


Yet even as we wonder “why?”

we may still be quite satisfied.

The jobs well done and lessons learned

are even more than paychecks earned.

Confidence we can do right

certifies our rest at night.


We do not just receive profits

but share our labors in service.

In roles of living as we should

our skills enrich the common good.

Through varied talents and arts

we are Christ’s own body parts.


Equipped for big tasks and small things

our vocations are God’s calling.

In office, neighborhood, or home

we are employed for God’s kingdom.

Inspired and sent across lands

we do God’s work with our hands.


Trying to capture various senses of “work,” this moves from the fairly unhappy realism of Ecclesiastes, toward contentment of Proverbs, on to Paul’s views of shared and mutual responsibility, until finally the broadest sense of Christian vocation throughout life.


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