Work plays a central role in people’s lives and draws it’s root in God right from creation. The creation story introduces God as a working God. Gen 1:1 God created the heaven and the earth. The art of creating is in itself work and this means that in the beginning God worked. Through this we learn a lot about work. Particularly in the creation of man when God mixed dirt/dust and then breathed on his nostril. Genesis 2:7.
We also learn from His example that when He took dirt and used it to create man, He didn’t consider dirt/dust as a very lowly job for Him and therefore, work of all kinds has dignity to God.
But sometimes we as a people are consumed with the nature of work we do and look down on those lowly jobs not knowing that every job has value and every work is important to God. Work makes the full expression of God’s image in us as co-creators with him. Work is a blessing and not a curse it helps us shape our world as God commanded us even before the fall. There are three things I’d like to point out here.
Work was the first assignment God gave to mankind long before the fall of man.
Work distinguishes mankind from animals and sets man apart from all other creation.
Work enables mankind to fulfill God’s command to subdue or have dominion over the earth. Gen 1:28.
This term to subdue is work. However, work is not a right to tyrannize others or destroy the environment but a constant reminder of God’s original intention for man. Work ushers us into the life of service that can lawfully be exercised according to His design.
When we work, we love. We can’t love without doing some work for the other. Jesus said Love your neighbor as yourself. If we would look at work as an opportunity to love our neighbor, then everybody would get up and work as an act to love their neighbor, making work a joyous venture.
Take an example of a farmer who wakes up early to milk the cows, making milk available for you and then the truck driver gets up to deliver the milk to the store, the store owner gets up to open the store, the gas station attendant gets up to fuel the truck and the chain continues and when you get to the store there is milk for you. When we work we love. we cant love our neighbor without any form of work.
With the foregoing being true, there are some misconceptions about work. These misconceptions have made people to either shun or over indulge. Let us look at what work is not.
• Work is not our God. This means that work should never replace God and work should never be worshiped. This is because work is a means to our destiny and work is not the end in itself.
• Work is not a punishment. Work was bestowed to man before fall. After the fall of man, work became hard because the land was cursed and the attitude towards work changed for the worst. People started looking at it as punishment and a curse. But Jesus’ life and ministry here on earth gives us a glimpse of the blessedness of embracing work
• Work should never define us. We are Gods creation, to be a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, a nurse a janitorial staff, a herdsman, watchman etc this is what we do but not who we are. We are all God’s creation created in His image and likeness.
We should therefore view work as an act of loving our neighbor and fulfilling Gods command to subdue the land. However, we should also remember that we are in a fallen world and the land was cursed making worker harder than it should have been. But we should often ask ourselves, is my work loving or hurting my neighbor or have I made my work my god.