Restoring Our Definition of Work

By Danny Rohrdanz

January 29, 2016

Do we have a backwards conception of work?

Somewhere along the way, our culture has lost the true meaning of what it means to work. That’s why we’ve created our Why Work blog series: to get back to the heart of work. So today, we’re going to dive back into Dorothy Sayers’ revolutionary article and restore the definition of work.


Sayers’ first main point in the article is that “work is not, primarily, a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do.” It’s all too easy to lose sight of true work when we get caught up in money and success and recognition. We begin to view work as a means to an end–a stepping stone on the way to wealth and fame. But what if we began to view work as “the thing one lives to do”? That would mean that our work is meaningful, that our work is valuable, and that our work is unique to us.


Let’s keep going. In the very next line, Sayers continues, “[Work] is, or it should be, the full expression of the worker’s faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God.”

This is it. This is what it takes to transform work into “the thing one lives to do.” When our work brings us spiritual, mental, and physical satisfaction, we will come to love work. But it all begins with finding work that meets these criteria. We can’t simply choose a job based on salary and benefits. No, we must choose work that satisfies us, fulfills us, and challenges us in the best way. Most importantly, we must choose work that allows us to glorify God.


YLM Why Work1

So why work? Work to be satisfied. Work to be fulfilled. And work to bring God glory.

Be on the lookout for more blog posts in this series as we continue to explore answers to the huge question, WHY WORK? 

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