… And This is Why I Work?
Posted on February 20, 2019 by America's Keswick in Freedom Fighters
“Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” Genesis 2:15 (NASB)
It is an unfortunate thing to have to say but we were never designed to not work. Now don’t go getting upset with me for opening up with that statement, because I’m even taken a-back with having to admit it to myself. In the days of my youth I always thought I was gonna live like 19th century poet, Arthur Rimbaud, but that didn’t pan out so well. Something about the “long, intimidating, immense and rational derangement of all the senses” took a turn for the worst and I ended up at Americas Keswick Colony of Mercy at the age of 40. Rimbaud died from cancer at 37.
And just so you know, God’s purpose for man wasn’t defeated by Adam’s sin either, however, it did make accomplishing it a bit harder for us. Coincidentally, (like that word flies in the kingdom of God), I believe that’s why Jesus would have to tell us “apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Anyway…
God wanted to live with beings who freely choose to live with Him, serve Him, and who wanted to fellowship/worship Him. Man was seen to be highly intelligent, physically strong, able to communicate, spiritual and a being of perfection and of immortality. Man was also given the ability to will and to choose, guess that’s why “The LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in that day you eat from it you will surely die’” (Gen 2:16-17). Well, we know the end result of that choice, don’t we?
In any case, we have to settle on the idea that work was prescribed before the fruit of the tree was eaten. So, given that, there is a Biblical view of work we should maintain, especially since we’re living in a time where folks are being told otherwise. One of the first things we should work for is to the glory of God. The apostle Paul summed it all up in one verse, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). And there is a huge benefit to this mindset, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Col 3:23-24).
This might have been written in New Testament times, but this was probably the way of the world back then, “if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either”(2 Thess 3:10b). Now, granted, we’re living in a time where this has definitely changed on a social level, but it still doesn’t take away that we should work for the benefit of family. “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim 5:8). Whether we like it or not, we are accountable for our own influence on the world around us. You may think you can get away from that by becoming a bum but all that does is transfer responsibility not influence (yeah, let that one sink in).
And since I’m at the corner of “Do Nuttin’-n-Bum” sometimes we do work for the benefits of others, “Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need” (Eph 4:28). Sometimes by displaying a good work ethic we can be that witness that the Great Commission commands us to do.
Ya see, the goal and purpose that God has for us isn’t totally found in quitting an old style, it isn’t totally found when you labor with your hands, it isn’t totally found by giving from what you earn from your labor. The goal and purpose, that was to be displayed in The Garden, was God’s grace.
So, whenever your scratching your head, while you’re laboring and wondering “what’s the purpose to all this,” just rest in knowing that when people see your life and try to figure out why you work the way you work that your hope is that they are seeing you display the grace of God in your life. It may not feel like that all the time (Lord knows I can display my discontentment with work) but sometimes its not personal fulfillment as much as it is about fulfillment of God’s good purpose. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) has been married for 25+ years (Kathy), has a married son (Kevin) and a daughter in college (Karen). He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Daily Quote: “Boredom and frustration and futility in work—these are the curse of our fallen age. But work itself is a good gift of God. How could it be otherwise since God is the greatest worker of all and we are created in His image?” — John Piper
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Blessed is the man You choose, and cause to approach You,that he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, of Your holy temple. – Psalm 65:4