Focal Passage: Genesis 1:28; 2:8-9, 15-17
Work for some is not a pleasing word or concept. They might use phrases like, “Back to the salt mines,” “Time to hit the old gridiron,” or “Another day another dollar.” I am reminded of the exhausted man on TV who used to say, “Time to make the donuts” while dragging himself out of bed. Society has coined such terms as “Weekend Warriors” or song lyrics such as “Everybody’s Working for the Weekend.” Why? For many people work is hard, stressful, demanding, and getting a paycheck is work’s only purpose. But what does the Bible teach us about God’s plan for work and our response?
This week’s study challenged me to contemplate work in a new way. We first see work in Genesis 2:8-9 as the greatest Farmer of all plants a garden. Wow! God worked first. Then He positions man to work (2:15). Some believe that work was a result of sin. “Adam and Eve would have had the easy life in the Garden of Eden and would never have to do any work had it not been for their disobedience.” Yet here we see that before man sinned, God placed him in the garden to work. Work is not burdensome to God and it was not intended to be so to us. Adam was strategically placed in the Garden for a purpose, “to work the garden and watch over it.” What about your work? Did it ever occur to you that God may have you there for a specific purpose? That it’s not just a means to a paycheck? No matter where you work or what challenges you face there, it is likely to become much more meaningful to you as you discover how God wants to use you in that place.
Why then is work so hard at times? Why did it become hard for Adam and Eve? Answer: Sin. It was not until Adam and Eve disobeyed God that their work became laborious. Sin brought a curse on the land and whereas it was once cooperative with man, it now resists us at every turn Farmers dealing with weeds and thorns will tell you this. Whatever your profession, imagine how pleasing your job would be if there were never any challenges, frustrations, setbacks, stressful relationships, or mistakes. I want that job! If you dread work it’s because of sin and the fallen state of the world. Yet work is still a “good” creation of God and this dread can be overcome.
This week we learn that work is a blessing and not a curse. When God told Adam to “watch over” the garden, He meant to exercise great care over it. This task was not given to punish Adam but to bless Him (2:8). A hard day’s work gives us a sense of accomplishment. It’s great to have days of rest and relaxation but too much living for leisure leaves us lazy, slothful, and unproductive. Paul wrote to the church of Colossae, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God in the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17).
Whatever your work, it is my prayer that you would recognize the purpose for which God has you there and do “good work” in His name. God’s people are not “weekend warriors” living for a paycheck or luxury. We are a people set apart to honor God in all that we do (I Peter 2:9). God enjoys His work. As we follow His example I believe He will help us to enjoy ours as well.
— Cort is senior pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, Greenbrier.