From the BeginningDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it . . .
The first job in human history was that of groundskeeper. It was a role many would see today as dirty and inglorious. Yet, God filled it with meaning and worth.
It isn’t a huge jump to apply the truth of Adam’s Lawn Service to our spreadsheets, stressful meetings, and sleepless nights. In God’s perfect creation, even the most mundane job matters deeply.
Work and the Image of God
Adam and Eve worshiped their Creator—but how did they worship? In Genesis 1:26–28, at least part of their worship was their work. As they carried out the tasks God gave them—creating children, tending God’s garden, stewarding his earth—Adam and Eve reflected the very image of history’s first Boss.
Likewise, many jobs today display the attributes and character of God to the world: Artists and architects reflect God’s creativity, bringing forth beauty and meaning. Paralegals and politicians display God’s heart for justice, fighting for truth and righteousness. Waiters and assistants show Jesus’ humility, serving people, meeting needs, and putting others first.
Of course, the worship-filled utopia of Eden lasts for one entire page of our bibles. In sin, work became difficult. In Genesis 3:16–19, Eve had to sacrifice to bring forth life. Adam had to sweat to provide. The world became broken. Work became painful.
Work and Redemption
Sin ushered in a second reason work matters. In a world of sin and sadness—just as real today as in Genesis 3—many jobs echo God’s redemption: Scientists and salespersons help overcome various difficulties by providing products to make life easier and healthier. Military forces and mommies provide safety in the midst of chaos. Accountants and repairmen fix broken ledgers, appliances, and technology.
These and other roles project hope for coming perfection. One day the brokenness will be gone; the pain will be no more (Revelation 21:4). But until that day, even the most frustrating jobs can be means by which we carry out our “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18), reflecting Jesus’ finished work in our own lives as we display God to his world and redeem areas of brokenness.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Which of God’s attributes can shine in our different roles? How do we steward the aspects of his creation he entrusted to us, Monday through Friday, 9–5? In what ways do our jobs bring hope, joy, service, and life? In what ways do we reconcile some brokenness in the world around us, no matter how big or small?
PRAYER: God, you alone are our glorious Redeemer. But you call and empower us to display your glory and redemption to those around us. Help us in everyday moments to shine forth your image, character, and attributes through our roles. And show us where we can display your gospel’s work, by reconciling areas of brokenness in our jobs. Amen.
Your Work Matters
What if your work is drudgery? What if getting out of bed to head to your daily grind is just about to push you over the edge? What if Monday morning always arrives with a feeling a dread? We all want to feel as of the work we're doing is meaningful. We want it to fill us up, and we pray it makes a difference in the world for good. But what if you're stuck in a job that has nothing to do with what you feel called to do? What if you feel trapped and discouraged? In this series, Your Work Matters, we're asking some of these same questions. We don't promise to have all (or any) of the answers, but we encourage you to wrestle with these tough and painful issues, right along with us. Tell us your story. Offer your wisdom, and come away encouraged that you are not alone, and that God sees you, right where you are.
Featured image by North Charleston. Used with Permission. Source via Flickr.