The Ancient Greeks had eight different words for love. Eskimo languages have dozens of words for snow. Hebrew, on the other hand, can take one word and assign it several meanings. Shalom (hello, goodbye, and peace) is one such example; Avodah is another.
Avodah is a Hebrew word that means work, worship and service. Many work Monday through Friday and worship on the weekend. Masters integrate the three, finding flow while pursuing their Opus. When integrated, work, worship, and service reflect a well aligned core.
Take a look at the ancient temples, medieval cathedrals, and mosques. I imagine the artisans were living all aspects of Avodah, as their work, worship, and service together created these architectural masterpieces.
I have a client whose life’s work for the last two decades has been Avodah integrated, he has taken his worship to work in service by building a faith-based recovery center for drug and alcohol addiction. The treatment length is far longer than in typical programs, so he has thrown out the traditional funding model. After five months, participants engage in work programs, replicating another integration of Avodah as their work, worship, and service supports the organization, which is supporting them on their road to recovery.
My client talks about the early years of this work, the sleepless nights he spent not knowing if the Refuge could sustain itself and continue its mission. Twenty years in, he’s looking to “leave it all on the field.” His Opus is expanding in Columbus and is being replicated by others in five cities around Ohio.
It’s the kind of work you aren’t sure you want to start, but once you do it’s the kind of work you don’t want to stop. Avodah Tom, Avodah.