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Thursday, November 19, 2009

God's Good Gift...of Work?

Believe it or not, it's true. God gave work to us as a GIFT. Now, perhaps your current job doesn't feel that way, but I'm talking about the larger principle of humans being created to do something. Consider the following from Genesis 2. When God creates Adam and the Garden of Eden, we read this, "The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it." (vs. 15, NLT) This is before the Fall. This is before sin of any kind had marred Adam's perfect relationship with God. God creates Adam, and the very next thing he does is give Adam a job to do. Just a few verses later, we see Adam hard at work, naming all of the animals that God has created. Again, prior to sin, Adam is spending his time working. What does this mean? A couple of implications:

1) While work was admittedly made more difficult after the Fall (see Genesis 3:17-19), part of God's good plan for us was to work. We were made to be productive and creative, and in our productivity and creativity, we discover some of our purpose. This can be pursued to a wrong end, where people become workaholics and define themselves by what they accomplish. But this can also be pursued in a very healthy way by realizing that God's plan for us will include doing something. Something with our hands. Something with our brains. Paradise is not sitting around all day eating mangos and watching sunsets (though there is nothing wrong with that!). In Genesis, paradise was a perfect relationship with God and work that really mattered because it was assigned by God.

2) In some sense, taking care of creation is a part of "work" for all of us. It's not an exaggeration to say that God's first command to humanity was to take care of the earth, his creation. This idea runs counter to much of modern evanglicalism's current ideology. We have bought into a mind-set of escapism. We have so over-emphasized a coming rapture (which may or may not be an entirely accurate picture) that it leads many to believe that God is unconcerned with the earth. Yet quite the opposite is true. The New Testament tells us that part of God's redemptive plan includes the created world. Colossians 1 says "He (God) made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ's blood on the cross." (vs. 20, NLT) Everything means, well, everything. Women, men, children, animals, plants: everything on earth. Going green isn't just a nice idea- it's Biblical. Christ-followers should lead the way in taking care of the planet and encouraging wise use of our natural resources.

Maybe today you'll begin to see your work, and your world, in a new way.

What are you learning from Genesis?

Journey on-

Nick

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