Avodah: A Thanksgiving Reflection

For many Christians, work, service and worship are key elements of life. As we follow Christ, the natural intersection of these activities forms a holistic concept called Avodah, the Hebrew word meaning to work, to serve and to worship.

It’s a term seen on multiple occasions in the Bible. Psalm 104:23 demonstrates Avodah as work, saying, “Then man goes out to his work, to his labor until evening” and Exodus 34:21 reads, “Moses renewing the covenant with God says, ‘Six days you shall work.’” Joshua 24:15 offers perspective of service, saying, “as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Similarly, Exodus 8:1 speaks of worship: “This is what the LORD says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me.”

Avodah encompasses a spiritual notion that inspires the Christian community to revere the Lord through work, service and worship. When work and service are viewed as worship, perspectives of the daily grind are filtered through a mindset of humility and gratitude.

It is in this same spirit that Career Services (soon to expand into a Center for Personal and Professional Development that embodies the concept of Avodah) seeks to inspire students to approach their future holistically. More than just working a job, they are serving those around them and worshipping Christ with their whole lives.

Avodah is a simple word that centers every act of our lives on the One greater than us. When work is less about our own successes and more about God’s glory, there’s a newfound fullness to it. The same is true when service is less about grunt work and more about an outpouring of love. The reorientation of these daily acts into acts of worship opens itself to deeper gratitude for God’s grace and faithfulness in both the ordinary and extraordinary moments of life.

In work, may we worship and be thankful.