Recently Bill Taylor posted on this Blog site some thoughts and questions regarding Genesis and its implications for us. He graciously opened the door for further discussion, and I would like to follow that invitation by suggesting a couple of thoughts for consideration.
First, it is clear from the early chapters of Genesis that we were created to work. I know that work is often perceived as a four-letter word — in the “bad” sense. But work was given to mankind pre-fall, in a perfect environment, and as a part our forming in the image of God. This flies in the face of the often-caricatured picture of work being a result of the fall of humanity from grace, the fall into brokenness, something to endure, something bothersome and endured only to provide for what is really important — which of course is leisure. But that is not God’s model. Nor is that God’s example. Work is Godly, in many ways. At least, it is designed and intended to be.
In fact, there is a fascinating verse in Isaiah 65 that indicates that we will even work in the New Heaven/New Earth. There, work will not be stained by the fall, but we will be able to build houses that last and will not be taken from us. While I am not sure how literal to take that, I do believe it draws our attention to the fact that the world for which God created us, the world of Genesis 1 and 2 where sin had not yet destroyed so much, included work. If heaven is the re-creation, the fulfillment of God’s Eden, then work will be a part of our eternity in some form. I actually wonder if craftsmen, artists, creatives will all find fulfilling God’s honoring work in heaven, while us pastors will have to set our hands and minds to things less familiar to us now, as the work we are presently committed to will not be needed there. That is an intriguing thought for me.
So, can we begin to view our workplace and work opportunities with a fresh view? As Christians we should not communicate a dread for Mondays, and a celebration for Fridays, in the same way as those who are ignorant of God’s design and call on us. What a privilege to partner with God in the provision of our people and in reflecting His image through work.
But that also leads to a second observation from those first chapters of Genesis.
The work assigned to humanity in the Garden of Eden included care for God’s creation. Yes, that creation was there to provide for us, but we are also called to consider and care for the larger creation of God. This too is part of living in the image of God.
So, I leave you to ponder a couple of questions. What is your attitude about work? Is it appropriate? What can you do to change it? How can we leverage our work as a call of God, whether that work be in a kitchen, garage, retail sales, or church? And what are we personally doing to further the cause of care of God’s creation? This too is part of our work, our calling.
For me, these are pretty clear, and not very controversial, implications of the first chapters of Genesis where God articulates the beginnings of His plan for us. So how is that theology expressing itself in your today?
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