Working in the Image—and the PresenceBlog / Produced by The High Calling
The creation story says that humankind was created in God’s image and immediately assigned a task: “Let them have dominion” (Gen. 1:26–28). Human creatures received responsibility and resources. The Creator invited the creature into a partnership to manage, develop, and exercise faithful stewardship that would benefit all humankind and glorify Him. I
n other words, God invited people to join him at work. He does that throughout the Old and New Testaments and throughout history. “We are God’s fellow workers, coworkers with Christ,” Paul writes to the Corinthians. God works through his people for the creation and recreation of God’s loving purposes.
Work for God
From the beginning, our daily work has been part of God’s work to create, develop, manage, and reconcile. A man once asked Jesus, "What is required to be doing God’s work?" “Believe in Him who sent me," Jesus replied. To believe is to act on what you hold to be true—in each and every circumstance.
Usually each and every circumstance is rather ordinary, even somewhat (though with God, never totally) routine. Certainly it is not drab, mundane, meaningless drudgery. Occasionally the circumstances may be unusual, even heroic. Though heroes may emerge in a single dramatic moment, they develop through the faithful exercise of skills in the each-and-every-day work of love.
Work Like God
We are called to work like God. To actually "be" God—to transcend our humanness—would be disaster, built-in failure, sin. God is God; we live out His purposes, will, and design, within our limitations. But, like God, we are to approach our vocations with creativity, love, excellence, purposefulness, joy. Each reflects the Creator, and Jesus, God in flesh!
Christ is the servant leader. With competence, commitment, and pleasure, Jesus took the full risk of compassion, even to the point of giving his own life for the sake of others. Like Jesus (mentor as well as Savior), we give our lives, our daily work, for the sake of others, indeed for the well-being of the world.
Work with God
On the assembly line, in the classroom, boardroom, office, kitchen—the living Christ comes alongside us to guide, empower, challenge, and befriend. Our work for God is always with God. We are never alone. “Lo, I am with you always,” Jesus promised. The living Christ, the present Holy Spirit, is our resource to do the work well; excellently, faithfully, and gladly. This is God’s work: The world benefits—and so do we—and, we glorify God.
“Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as work done for the Lord . . . do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father.” (Col. 3:23 and 17)
As ordinary Christians in the ordinary experiences of our everyday lives, as Christians living out the high calling of our daily work, we work for God (skilled stewards), like God (sacrificial servants), and with God (faithful friends). In the process, our work reflects the image of God. Our work is indeed a high calling.
Questions for discussion:
• In what ways is my work today God’s work?
• If I were to do my work today like God’s work, what specifically would I do?
• If I knew God was with me, what difference would that make in my work? In my attitude?