Conclusion to Isaiah
As Christians living in the tension between the inauguration of God’s kingdom and its coming fulfillment, our enjoyment of our work and the fruit of our labor to the praise of God’s glory foreshadows the coming day when the tension will be removed. It might be said like this: when Christians enjoy their work and the fruit it produces to the praise of God’s glory, they taste a bit of heaven on earth. When all is made right and the heavens and earth are as they were originally intended, work will not cease. It will continue and will be a great delight for those involved, for the sting of the Fall will have been finally and irrevocably removed.
Work and enjoying the fruits of one’s hard work, are gifts of God to be enjoyed and shared with others. Using these gifts, we can contribute to human flourishing and to alleviating suffering. The prophecy of Isaiah presents a beautiful portrait of the fact that even in our work as we clock in Monday to Friday, we are to fulfill the law by loving God and loving our neighbor (cf. Matthew 22:33-40). In God’s economy, we cannot love God and fail to love our neighbor. When our work is performed in this gracious context made possible by the forgiving, restorative work of Jesus Christ, our joy may be full. When labor and work become the twisted focus of our own self-aggrandizement at the expense of our subordinates’ dignity and the oppression of the poor and marginalized, the invective prophetic word of Isaiah still comes to us with power: “This is not the fast I have chosen.” When work and labor are enjoyed in the context of loving God and loving neighbor, a little bit of the new heavens and the new earth are tasted in the here-and-now.