The Christian view of work
What do you think work is? A curse, an unwelcome burden? Something you do to put food on the table?
One of the tenants of wisdom I have gained in the recent years is this: what you believe is reflected in your behaviour. Belief and behaviour in other words are inextricably linked. Change your belief and your behaviour will change 1.
What does the Bible say about work?
So let us look at how the Bible talks about work. How about this to start: –
‘And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done’. Genesis 2:2 [ESV]
Do you see that? ‘God …. worked’. Think about that for a moment [or a long while –it’s something to mediate about]. God worked at his creation.
Then read this and contemplate its implications:
‘The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it’Genesis 2: 15 [ESV].
The Lord, not only does his work, but put work before us to do. Work was part of paradise 2.
This was before the fall
Now many Christ followers will know that this all takes place before the Fall. That is before sin entered the world and man was separated from God. What does that mean? I would suggest it means that work is fundamental to our being human and made in God’s image. Work is not, as our culture would have us believe, a burden to bear, a necessary evil to face off, or something to hopefully retire from. In fact [and when I say this is a fact, I am asking you to appropriate this as a truth], God’s good plan always included human beings working, or more specifically, living in the constant cycle of work and rest. 3
Jesus said: “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.”[John 5:17].
Work is food for the soul
If anyone reading this can’t find work, or has been without work, or has been retrenched you will know that we need work to truly live and grow. If you haven’t had to face these difficulties you still need to know in your deepest being that we are made to work- we need work emotionally, physically and spiritually.
- I will at some other time discuss this in more detail.
- Timothy Keller, Every Good Endeavour: connecting your work to God’s plan for the world,(Hodder& Stroughton, 2012). I am using the Kindle version. This quote is from page 36 of that version.
- Keller, page 37, quoting Ben Witherington, Work: A Kingdom Perspective on Labor(Eerdmans, 2011), page 2