Work is a blessing

I was reading an interesting blog post about capitalism, free markets and being a Christian. It got me thinking about a misunderstanding I had long ago, which is work is a curse. I believe it is a misunderstanding that many Christian in America may have. And if the author of that blog were to read this post I must preface this all by saying I am not saying that she believed this misunderstanding. It’s a good chance that I misunderstood what she was saying. So, because charity is a Christian virtue, I will admit if I am wrong, but I also hope charity is extended and this post isn’t read as some attack on that blogger at all. It’s not.

Genesis 2:15

[15] The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (ESV)

Let me point out the obvious. Genesis 2:15 is before Genesis 3. And Genesis 3 contains the fall of man. So this verse exists before man fell away and was cast out of the garden. Which means that God gave man work while in paradise.

I say paradise because many Christians would agree that the garden was a miniature picture, a pre-fall picture, of what heaven is like. There’s no death. No suffering. Yet, there is work. Yet, God commands man, not just to avoid eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but God commands man to be fruitful, multiply, subdue the earth, and rule and have dominion over all the creatures. There wasn’t just one command. God gave a whole list of commands before the fall.

Man was given much. God gave man the whole entire world. It was given to man to work it and keep it. The Garden was a place that God himself provided so that man had a starting point. But the command was clear, subdue the whole earth.

Now, remember, this is before the fall. And if you’re like me, then you should see how this has huge implications for all of us as Christians. We believe work to be a good thing. We believe work to be a command of God. We believe work to be a part of what it means to be human. And that means, though work takes effort and time and energy, it’s not a curse. Work is a blessing from God.

The curse is found in Genesis 3:

Genesis 3:17-19

[17] And to Adam he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
[18] thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
[19] By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.” (ESV)

Notice that this is the curse. The curse isn’t, “you will now have to work to eat;” the curse is, “in pain you shall eat of it.” The curse isn’t, “work will be given to you;” the curse is, “thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you.” Instead of eating the plants in the garden, Adam will be cast into the field, and will eat the plants there. Adam was eating bread he worked for before the fall, but now the curse means Adam will sweat to make the bread: it will be difficult to make bread.

The fall didn’t give us work, the fall gave us difficult work that sometimes would end up in futility. And I know Christians who hate hard work because they feel like it’s pointless. And this may be true, but these Christians are forgetting two key things: 1) God gave them work and commands them to work, 2) Christ turns everything futile on it’s head.

When Jesus died all his work could have been seen as pointless. His disciples are discouraged and seen going back to doing what they did before Christ. Nothing has changed in the world. Jesus died and everything of his teachings or works died with him. It was futile.

However, something happens. A single things takes place and now all His work wasn’t pointless at all. Jesus resurrected from the dead, and all the wrongs are made right. God chose to take the futility and defeat the powers of sin and death. Sin enters the world, and through sin futility enters. Christ turns this around. He takes the futile and weak and worthless things, and He chooses to conquer sin, and death, and the world.

The Christian hope is the hope that not only that we will be with Christ one day, but that everything that was seemingly pointless will have been made right. All the futile and difficult things will have a purpose. And this is what Jesus Christ demonstrates.

So mundane work is no longer mundane, because Jesus conquer the world through the mundane. Jesus subdues the world through the toil. Jesus takes on the sins of the world and dies, and this becomes rich soil for a new heavens and a new earth. And as Christians, we will be partakers of the newness of it all when he comes back.

For now, work diligent and hard. For God commanded us to.

About TruthN

Husband. Father of one. Writer of fiction. Massage Therapist. Video Game, Comic Book, Fiction, and Non-Fiction enjoy'r. Reader of Theology. You may find him reading the Bible. View all posts by TruthN

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