Work is a good in itself ”“ and not simply (though importantly) a means of making money to support a family. St. John Paul II wrote in 1981: “Man was called to work even before original sin. Man is the image of God partly through the mandate received by the Creator to subdue. To dominate the earth. . .in other words man’s work is in some way a part in God’s creative power!”
We then are co-creators. This is both a privilege and a serious duty. The pope also discusses human work as a way of growing in holiness that prepares us for eternal happiness. After all, Our Lord constantly refers to workers in his preaching, and his greatest apostle was Paul, a tentmaker. You can be sure that St. Paul united his work with prayer so that it would not only contribute to earthly progress, but also extend the Kingdom of God.
This brings us to the second part of God’s plan for work that was highlighted by St. John Paul II in his encyclical on work, Laborem Exercens: that work becomes a place and means of sharing one’s faith not only by example, but also by words based on developing friendship in the context of the workplace.