Work! The forever grey area.


What is work?  How do we define work? Is there a grey area?

There is a story in the Bible about the tower of Babel, where the word Babble comes from, it was a record of where and when people took on different languages, or did they?

Was the issue merely a language issue?  After all those thousands of people didn’t all get a completely different language and that would mean that some got a shared language and could perhaps carry on with work.

I think it is just as much a case as even those who shared a language didn’t quite get what each other was saying.  For example Nearly everyone around me speaks English, however even across the world of English there are translation differences in understanding.

Work is a good example of that and most of the time the word work would be somewhat of a grey area.  Let us say for example that someone worked hard all day but never earned a penny, would we consider them working?  What about a house wife, although doing the job of a cleaner, a cook, a teacher, a counsellor and everything else that is part of her job description she is considered to not be working.  Then we have a self-sufficient gardener who earns no income, then we have those who inherit great wealth, those whose income is from their hobby such as singers or artists.

Where do we draw a line in the sand as to what work is defined as?  There are definitions out there such as “activity in order to produce something.”  but that could be deemed simply pouring a bowl of cereal or frying and egg.  So what is work?

Is true work only to be defined as income from doing something we hate?  Or should it be income from any activity? or perhaps any activity other than sitting doing nothing, but is sitting doing nothing work as well?  Let’s face it, anyone could argue that they might sit and do nothing all day but they claim that they are doing something, their job is to increase TV viewing which in turn keeps hundreds of people employed.

You see, Work has a grey are, in fact work is a grey area.  The Bible definition of work is by the sweat of your brow (toil) is work, but if you sit in an office at a computer not sweating does that then mean you are not working?

What about a religious leader who, sits all week praying for their congregation and then speaks from the front of their temple one morning a week, are they working?  The Bible would say that they are working and working hard, however a builder might argue they do nothing all day.  In a similar sense 2 people could be in the same thing for example if someone earns an income from blogging we say that they are working, but if someone blogs all day and earns nothing are they not working?  What if they blog in their spare time are they still working, what if you asked a Rabbi if someone could blog on a Sabbath if they aren’t working but doing so for fun yet their usual job is to blog?  Where do we draw the line?

Many employed people work hard all week and grumble that footballers earn too much money for kicking a ball around one day a week, thus claiming that their job is much more wage worthy than a footballers, yet do they in turn admit they do nothing themselves and aren’t really working all week compared to perhaps a surgeon?

You can see now that to define work is an impossible thing to do and I wouldn’t want to be the first person to cast the first stone at those “not working” in case someone with more challenging work and a bigger stone throws it at me.

Life is never as easy as the first look.



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