The sure Saturday morning shift as a suburban kid when a parent would sever your cartoon coma with the command, “I’m gonna have you work in the yard today.” Working in the yard as a kid meant, the terrible task of pulling weeds.
That is most people’s introduction to “work”…
- Demanded, not your decision.
- Breaking of your routine,
- Prescribed, not fitting your gifts,
- Separated from enjoyment, and
That is not how our Creator intended us to work. This week we will take a brief look at God’s design for work. We will focus not on the joy, but, rather, defining the design of work.
It is foundational to understand that work existed before the fall of man. It was in the original Garden of Eden. Work is not a product of sin entering the world. Genesis 2:15 says, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Adam was put to a task, given responsibility, and the work was joyful. Work is not an outcome of sin. We were originally designed to work.
This is not just an Old Testament tale, but a New Testament tell. Paul writing to the Colossians says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Col. 3:23). While he traveled the world preaching and wrote a good chunk of the Bible, Paul also worked a day job. He had learned how to “work with own hands” (I Cor. 4:12). Paul earned his money through manual labor. He could travel with a few leather-working tools and set up shop anywhere.
Jesus did three years of ministry but had 30 years before that launch. He was a carpenter. Carpenter is a bit of a “drumming up” of the Greek. In actuality, Jesus and Joseph may have been more like handymen. They were the sort of workers you call when something needed to be fixed. Not easy, but essential work.
There is much more to be said about work, our designed purposes, how work “interrupts our life,” etc. For now, the key is to understand that work is not of sin, but that work is of God. God made the first man to work and He made us to work.
As you return to the “grind” (smirk) this week, return with an understanding that work is not a burden of sin but an honor that God has given us to “tend the Garden.”
Questions for Reflection/Journaling
You may have to “pull some weeds,” but “Happy Gardening!”
- God sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to the world to save the world (John 3:16). It is interesting that Jesus had an occupation before Savior. What does that say to you about work? What does that say about God’s view of work?
- Think back to your earliest experience of “work,” not necessarily a job, but when you were put to work. How has the experience defined how you see work today? What do you need to do to redefine work from that upbringing?
- Create two columns. One column, titled “Garden,” will list tasks that seem “given by God,” maybe they are tasks you enjoy. The other column, titled “Weed,” are tasks brought by the Devil… that is too strong, but tasks that you don’t enjoy.
- How can you live into the “Garden” tasks?
- Are there “Weed” tasks that would be best done by someone else? The truth is that some people’s “weeds” are another person’s “Garden.”
- How can you turn those “weeds” into opportunities to see yourself working for God? That is not always possible, but it is worth the effort to consider. Pray for God to provide insights for you.