“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” – Col. 3:23-24 (NIV).
Work is God’s design for our world. In His wisdom God intended work to be enjoyed but because of the man’s fall through disobedience, work is seen mainly as drudgery – Gen. 3:6-19.
The Bible opens with God and the first thing we read about God is in relation to His work in creation. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness He called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day” –Gen. 1:1-5.
These verses tell us that God Himself is a worker for in forming and creating the world we see God as artist, designer, strategic planner, organiser, project developer, assessor, zoologist, programmer, materials specialist, engineer and waste management technician, to mention only a few. God did a very good job in these areas as we read in Genesis 1:4; 10; 12; 18; 21; 25, and 31.
Even though God finished His work of creation on a very good note, His work did not end with the creation of Adam and Eve. God is still working – He continues to provide for His creatures as we read in the Bible and experience every day – we still have air to breath, rain and sunshine to give us light, water and to help us grow food. God is also still at work, sustaining creation. The stars, the moon, the sun, the other planets, the seas and so on are still in place – kept there by God through His eternal work of sustaining the world He has created. Above all, one of the greatest of God’s work is bringing salvation to people as we read in John 5:17 & Ephesians 1:7 “Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
If God is a worker, then each one of us as workers must seriously consider the following points:
· Work is good – it is inherently good;
- We should be creative and productive – this means that working with and reshaping what God has already created is very important. God is pleased by it. He considers it as vital for the proper running of things;
- All legitimate work reflects the activity of God and this is true in all work whether we consider the work “sacred” or “secular.”
- We honour God by doing the work He has given us to do in a way that is pleasing to Him.
Work Is Not A Curse
In Gen. 3:17 “….Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the das of your life.” God disciplined Adam for his sin by cursing the ground. Because of this some people think that work is a curse but it is not.
Some people set aside their responsibilities, quit work, do no future planning and just wait for others or the Lord to supply their needs. But their lack of activity only leads them into sin. They become burdens to the society which is supporting them. They waste their time that could have been used for helping others if they were working. Some people may think they are being more spiritual by not working, but Paul tells us to be responsible and work. “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” As Christians, we must obey God in every area of life. Relaxation and recreation provide a necessary and much needed balance to our lives; but when it is time to work, Christians should jump right in. We should make the most of our talent and time, doing all we can to provide for ourselves and our dependants. Rest when you should be resting and work when you should be working
Most of us acknowledge that work can be burdensome. Think of the stresses, pressures, occupational hazards, boredom, workplace politics, endless routine, frustrations, fraud, disappointments, setbacks, injustice, deception and inordinate competition at the workplace.
There is indeed no end to evils connected with work. But and this is a big BUT; work itself is not evil. Indeed God, through the Bible, calls work and the fruits of our labour, His gifts to us, as we read in Ecclesiastics 3:13 & 5:18-19. So work is not evil even though in Genesis 3:17-19, God made some strong pronouncements related to work. Now let us consider some very important points that underscore the fact that even though God made those pronouncements, He did not in anyway make work a curse.
1. God Himself is a Worker
God does not contradict Himself. He Himself was, is and will ever be working, so it means that work is not evil. After all, God is so holy and so righteous that He cannot do evil. As long as God Himself is a worker as we said in the introduction and He is still doing so, work can never be evil.
2. God Created us in His Image and Made us His Co-workers
In Genesis 1:28 God commanded Adam and Eve to subdue the earth and have dominion over all creation. It is God who gives us the ability and authority to manage creation, therefore work cannot be a curse – it cannot be evil.
3. God Established Work Before The Fall
As our second point indicates, God gave us authority to work before Adam and Eve disobeyed Him. When God created them, He put them in the garden and asked them to tend and keep it – Genesis 2:15. It means that He assigned work to humans before sin entered the world leading to God pronouncing the curse. It is obvious therefore that work cannot be a result of the fall because humans were working before the fall.
4. God Commends Work Even After The Fall
In Gen. 9:7 God told Noah and his family to have dominion over the earth – that is, God assigned them to work. Noah and his family lived after the fall and the pronouncement of the curse. If work were inherently evil, God would never command and encourage people to engage in it. In the New Testament work is commended. Jesus Christ Himself worked as a carpenter and continued to do so in His Ministry. In Colossians 3:23; and 1 Thessalonians 4:11 we are commanded to work.
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