How often do I hear people say, “we were made to work.”
In my lifetime, that idea, understood or not, has been marketed to us to justify long work hours, both spouses in the market place, mandatory pursuit of higher education, etc, etc, etc. All in pursuit of “greater freedom:” more food, more house, more “free” time, more…….!
While I would concur that there is a “theology of work” as we might call it. The ideas represented in the first paragraph, are lies I have been raised in and in which I have participated.
I have learned later in life that they are lies created to serve the marketplace, non Christian and Christian alike. They have no regard for human relationships. They are lies that flow seamlessly from the Industrial Revolution, through the technological revolution, into whatever you want to call today.
I don’t see any of these ideas in Scripture. A theology of work, must rise from Genesis 1-3. We were created to be in relationship to God our creator. From the solid foundation of that relationship, we are to represent His image: holiness, purity sacrifice, righteousness, etc. Equally, we are to steward His world: work.
This nature to represent Him, image and stewardship, seamlessly gives birth to concern and care for our marriages, raising offspring that will follow our example, care for our fellow brothers (especially those in Christ), and faithfully care for the world He has placed us in.
Along the way, we honor God’s examples of great satisfaction. God saw that it was good, indeed very good. We honor a day of rest as God did. Not so much because it is a law, as it gives us time to reflect and remind ourselves. In our stewarding of His assets, we work, which in turn gives us the things we need to survive, fed by His hand.
You will undoubtedly ask me, yes, but what does this mean for daily living today? And, you should remind me that Genesis 3 and the fall, have brought chaos and challenge to all that God created. As Romans 8 says, the world labors under God’s curse on us. And, we complicate it by the things we do with His creation.
The world does not pollute itself. It does not deplete its own natural minerals. Food is not contaminated by the foods we eat. All these things come from our hands. What is the answer? Ultimately, the answer is the end of time and the new heaven and the new earth.
In the meantime, we have a choice. A choice to be different. We are all accountable for the choices we make daily in our particular journey. There is no substitute for growing Biblical awareness, greater intentional obedience to God’s word, and daily listening the the Holy Spirit. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit will give each born anew person, the desire and direction needed to, as much as possible this side of eternity, fulfill God’s original intentions.
More thinking along this line can be found in my book “Divine Design.” Available at https://www.dwightpaulsmith.com/books