The scriptures open in Genesis with God working (Genesis 1:1). God is not a couch potato. God works. We see the pinnacle of His work in verse 26 when God makes humanity in his image. And God doesn’t just make man as an image-bearer, He also gives him the ability to rule and have dominion over what He has created. One Jewish scholar translates this word rule (radah) as actively partnering with God in taking the world forward. Ultimately, human was commanded to make culture. We are called to make something of the world.
We see this even further in Genesis 2 when it says that God put man in the garden to “work it and keep it” (vs. 15). The word work (‘abad) runs all throughout the Old Testament. What is crazy about this word is that many times it is translated “to serve” or “to work.” Do you see it? In God’s eyes work is worship!
So we see in the garden two primary things. First, human was created in the image of God and created to work. Second, God blesses human and gives him a job description. As Tom Nelson says, “In our work we are to show off Gods excellence, creativity, and glory to the world. We work because we bear the image of the One who works. “
Now, this is a beautiful, amazing story. But the shalom we see in the garden story does not last long. Sin enters the world and everything is fractured. Rebellion in the garden leads to pain in human relationships, broken and abused sexuality and frustrated, unsatisfied word. In Genesis 3:17-19 we see that work is hard and that human’s relationship with the ground is cursed. Though work is not the curse we live in a world that is broken and painful.
So work is this present age is hard but redeemable. God’s vision is that we would make something of His good world. We learn from this story that what we do is deeply integrated with who we are as humans.
Revelation 21-22 gives us a picture at the end of the bible that God’s kingdom is coming to earth. Heaven and earth will be reunited and God will wipe every injustice from the planet. We also see that the tree of life is present in the new heavens and earth (Revelation 22:2). So we see images of the Garden of Eden but in the future kingdom it appears as a garden-like city!
This is amazing news. We are people, just like in the beginning, who work towards a garden-like city. It means that all of life is sacred and that our work as humans matter because God is not throwing this world out.
So as you go about your work this week remember that you were created for this. You were created to take the raw materials of this world and make something of it. This is the primary way we worship.
Our hope through this series is that you would learn how integral work is in your life. We also pray that you will find your calling and join God on His mission of renewing all things.