Entry Level Theological Truth [11]

The term “work” often conjures up images of drudgery, fatiguing toil, and unrequited effort. To pleasure-loving westerners, the choice between work and play usually presents no contest. Of course, it is true that there are “workaholics” – people who thrive on mental or physical labor. Yet the high heart attack rate among hard working people shows that there is a human cost to our labor-oriented society.


On The Job Training


In the beginning work was something positive. Before man’s fall, it did not have the negative consequences and side-effects that currently trouble legions of laborers. Sweat, thorns, and taxes came after man sinned. Adam was created to do meaningful work, and his descendents retain this urge for effort that results in something important. God placed him in the garden to tend and cultivate it (Genesis 2:15.) The Almighty intended human service to be salutary, significant, and spiritual – this last quality, because their endeavors were meant to be done under the Lordship of the Creator and for His glory.


The Perks Of Working For The Best Of All Masters


More than detailing man’s labor, Genesis 2 focuses on the grand scale of the divine generosity, emphasizing God’s providential provision for mankind. “The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.

The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:8,9.) Verses 15-17 add: “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’”

As long as they abided by this one commandment, they had no shortage of food – “of every tree…you may freely eat” – and could work for the advancement of the garden under the tutelage of their Maker. Regrettably, man’s disobedience to the Lord brought this idyllic situation to an end. Despite God’s kindness towards them, Adam and Eve proved disloyal, even as their modern descendents continue to repeatedly disobey His word.


Work For The Night Is Coming


Thankfully, in Christ there can be a recapturing of the divine intention for work. The Lord Jesus came to earth to do His Father’s works (John 5:17.) He now calls His followers to work for His glory. Obviously this exalted task includes overtly spiritual efforts such as witnessing to the lost, serving the needy, and teaching the doctrines of the faith, but working for the Lord also includes seemingly mundane activities like giving your best effort at your job, being good stewards of the homes and property He has given us, as well as loving one’s spouse, and serving one’s family (see the practical teachings on these areas in Ephesians chapters 4-5 and Colossians chapters 3-4.) It means being a good employee or employer as the case may be.

It cannot be summed up any better than in the words of Colossians 3:23: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”

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