What do you think of when you think of heaven? Popular perception is something like floating around on a cloud somewhere singing and playing harp. Those who are musically inclined might be thrilled, but that is not what is going to happen. We aren’t going to just float around for all eternity. No, we are going to be apart of a renewed city.
A Renewed City
In Revelation 21, we are told that a New Heavens and a New Earth will be formed. A New Jerusalem will be made ready for us to live in. Which means we are going to be citizens of a city in the future. A city where we will have responsibilities. A city in which we will live and work. If that doesn’t sound like heaven to you, keep in mind work is one reason we were created.
Work is one reason we were created.
Created to Work
In Genesis 2:5 God says,
“When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground,…” (Ge 2:5)
He continues in verse 7 by saying,
“…then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.” (Ge 2:7–8)
We are told in verse 15 the reason God placed Adam in the garden was to
“work it and keep it.” (Ge 2:15c)
So we were created to work. If that is true, you may ask yourself then: Why do I hate working so much?
Why We Don’t Like Work
Well, the reason we don’t like work is because of The Fall. When Adam and Eve rebelled against God, part of the punishment was increased labor in their work. In other words, work was made more difficult.
Work is for Our Joy
From the beginning, work wasn’t supposed to be something we hated. It wasn’t supposed to be difficult and dreadful. That wasn’t how God designed it. He designed work to be something we enjoy.
We see glimpses of the joy of work even today. Think about your hobbies. I am sure none of you just sit in a dark room as a hobby. No, what do you do? You do some form of work. Think about it. Remodeling a car, making a quilt, hunting, training dogs and whatever else you do. All of that is work — It takes effort, skill, and time; it’s work.
The difference though between our hobbies and our job is that we enjoy our hobbies. Since we enjoy them, they don’t feel like work, even though it is work.
How Do We Redeem Work?
We redeem work by seeing it as something good God created. Work is good for us and others. It is good for God’s creation. God told Adam to work it and keep it, to cultivate the land he was given stewardship over. When we work to cultivate God’s creation and put our creative abilities in play, we create things that are good for everyone. Of course, I know some of you will say we create things that are not good. While that is true, the process of creation and cultivation in and of itself is a good thing.
Another way to redeem work is to see it as a way to glorify and honor God. When we view work as a way to honor and glorify God, our work becomes worship. While it may be hard, difficult, taxing, something at times we don’t enjoy, it is a way for us to worship God. Knowing work is worship should help us get through the day a little easier.
Along with seeing work as worship, we can also redeem work by viewing it as an opportunity to witness to others. Before I was a minister, I slaved away in the corporate world chained to a desk and phone all day. While I didn’t enjoy what I did, I had the opportunity to build deep relationships with my co-workers. Relationships that ultimately allowed me to speak the truth of the gospel into their lives. In that way, I redeemed the work I hated doing.
Question for Reflection
- How do you redeem work?
Post adapted from my sermon What Does It Look Like To Be A Faithful Servant of God?