What a beautiful, holistic Hebrew word! Along with its root, it occurs over 400 times in the Old Testament. It is a word which gets torn apart in our worldview into what we call work, worship, service, and ministry. In our mind these four are separate, distinct. In the ancient Hebrew mind, they are all one in the same.
Imagine how we would change if we brought these four back together.
My work is my worship. What I do for a living glorifies God. When I till the soil or reap its harvest, I am worshiping the One who made the rain fall and the sun to shine and the seed to sprout into food. That is my avodah.
My service is my worship. When I knead the dough, bake the bread, and serve it to the ones I love, I am worshiping. When I create a meal that brings health, sustenance, beauty and delight to my family and friends, I am creating something that becomes incorporated into their bodies. It is an intimate act of love. It is an act of worship of my Creator prospering the creative work of my hands. That is my avodah.
My service is my ministry. When I seek what is in the heart of my Father for a covenant friend--when I pray, “Lord? What is in Your heart for her?” and I receive an assignment and act upon it, I serve my friend. I minister to her. My act of service is my ministry. That is my avodah.
My work is my ministry. My cubicle or office is my altar in the world. Every email, every phone call, every memo, every document, every word from my mouth is my ministry to my direct reports, my co-workers, my boss, my company, and to the world. Everything I do seeks to help everything I touch become all that it was created to be. That is my avodah.
And even when I purchase only those products produced with fair labor and without oppression, I am engaged in serving, supporting, and caring for those who receive the fruits of my work. Everyday justice. That is my worship of the One who defines justice. That is my avodah.
So I paint the four words, worship, work, service, and ministry on the sides of a dreidel. And I imagine it spinning its way through my life, powered by His love. All four sides of this beautiful word blurred into one. That is my prayer. That is my avodah.
The four Hebrew letters on the sides of a dreidel are an acronym for a Hebrew phrase which means “A great miracle happened here.” And when the avodah dreidel is spinning in my life, a great miracle does happen here.
Imagine how we would change ... if we
brought these four back together.
Imagine how we would change ... the world.
That is my avodah. That is my job.
And you know what?
I LOVE MY JOB!!!