My workplace was closed during the Christmas and New Year holidays. We didn’t open until Monday, the 8th of January 2018. Therefore, I was not in front of a computer for two whole weeks, and instead, I enjoyed time with my family and my new subscription to Netflix.
In fact, I was enjoying my workplace’s shut down period so much that I was dreading the prospect of going back to work.
I woke up at 7am on the 8th of January in a terrible mood. I felt tired, having adjusted to a 9am alarm.
I arrived at work and realised that most of the partners at my law firm were still on leave. There was no one to delegate me work – it was going to be a very slow day.
I sat at my desk brainlessly looking at news articles and reading through pointless emails. By Wednesday, the 10th of January, I was thinking of taking leave. It’s safe to say that I was suffering from a terrible bout of ‘post-holiday blues’.
Getting into the right mind frame for work
At some point during that first week back at work, I decided to look at my notes from the previous Sunday’s sermon.
A Bible college student was filling in for my pastor and preached a sermon from Genesis, chapter 1, verses 26 to 31. I decided to quickly read these verses again.
These verses remind us of humanity’s central place in creation. It is us, and nothing else created in Genesis, chapter 1, that is made in the ‘image of God’. However, verse 28 also illustrates God’s purpose for man, which is to:
“be fruitful and multiple and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it”.
So how has humanity actually done this?
Well, Genesis, chapter 2 gives us the answer. Chapter 2 reveals that when Adam and Eve were created, they started fulfilling their purpose by, yes, producing children, but also by “working the ground”.
This immediately lifted my spirit for two reasons.
First, I realised that humanity participated in work before the fall in Genesis, chapter 3. Accordingly, work isn’t synonymous with, or a result of, sin.
And second, I realised that work has helped humanity fulfil its purpose as set out in Genesis, chapter 1, verse 28. Humanity has turned a raw garden called Eden into a ‘filled’ and ‘subdued’ earth, and we did this by working. We did this by building cities, maintaining economies, and creating social networks – things that people do as part of their job.
Trust me, the rest of the week went by must quicker with all of that in mind.
Thinking about work in the long run
I’m still not sure whether I will work as a lawyer for my whole life.
I do enjoy the intellectual challenges of being a lawyer. However, it really is a tough profession, with many pitfalls and temptations for a Christian.
Part of me wants to persevere – to reflect God’s glory in the legal profession and make the Gospel attractive to lawyers. However, I also have to acknowledge that I am sinful, and could easily be swayed by the temptations.
To complicate things further, God is still putting on my heart a curiosity for mission. I’m still fascinated by the stories that I hear from missionaries, and my memories of my short-term mission trip to Indonesia continue to resonate, reminding me that there are many who have never heard of the Gospel.
Regardless of what I decide in the future, I know that my time as a lawyer is not wasted because work is a means for humanity to fulfil its purpose.
Jia Pan Xiao attends GracePoint Chinese Presbyterian Church and commenced working as a lawyer in early 2017. In his spare time, Jia Pan enjoys watching American sports, drinking coffee and devouring chocolate mud-cake.
Jia Pan Xiao's previous articles may be viewed at