The Bible presents a view of the value of labor in the face of a heathen worldview that resents it. From Genesis 1, we understand that man was created in the image of God and that God worked (Genesis 2:2). It was on the seventh day that He rested from all His work that He had made.
Did God work before the Creation we see described in Genesis? Yes, because there God is three and the three are One. — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Proverbs 8, we read of the relationship God had; it was a relationship of wisdom, of rejoicing, and of purpose.
The Father, the Son, and the Spirit served and cared as One in relating to each other. Mutually, God established purposes and directions as part of His work. This is a dimension of reality we are just tasting and can only speak of from our human frame of reference. In John 9, Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day.”
What is work? Think of some of the Middle East nations and the cultures, the enormous amount of money there. Take the money away from that country and what’s left? Who are the people, how do they live, how do they serve? What God do they know? Who is God in their minds? In the 1500s and 1600s, Spain mined huge amounts of silver from its colonies in Peru and Bolivia and became the richest country in Europe. But then the silver was gone. What was left of the culture, the community, the work ethic? Money cannot determine for us the true quality of our lives.
God in heaven as God is the One who works and who gave man the desire and the design to work. Work is not a curse. Work is part of our design related to God who also works. God is a worker. God is a servant. Some are unemployed and struggle with things related to work, but there is something deeper. There is ministry. We are designed to be workers.
The Lie of Leasure
To the Greek mind, during the days of the Roman Empire, a god was considered privileged with leisure. The gods were gods of rest, comfort, leisure, privilege. In an atheist view, like Communism, where the belief in God or gods is shunned, people labor and work because it’s their duty, but the benefits would go to a select group of people. As a result, people began to think of work as a curse.
When you understand God and His plan for us, you recognize that He is the God who serves. He has responsibility. He is the most responsible person because He has the greatest authority. He is able to be there for us. He is able to answer our prayers, to carry our burdens, to care about our future, to forgive us of our sins, to speak to us at night, to show up in our crises. He can do so because He is God and He is a working God, a serving God, a responsible God with an amazing amount of authority to do it.Our authority isn’t for our privilege, but for the benefit of others. Click To Tweet
Our authority isn’t for our privilege, but for the benefit of others. This is a new definition for work. Work is not a paycheck. Work is the understanding of who is God. We work with God giving me the ability. There is the talent, the purpose, the privilege. We may not like our jobs, but we do not serve only in terms of our jobs. “Whatever we do, we do it as unto the Lord,” (Colossians 3:23-24).
Think of people who serve without money in mind. One is found in Proverbs 31. Here, we read of a woman, a mother; we have a description of a virtuous woman. Her price is far above a paycheck, way above a contract, way above the earthly way of measuring value. What Spain needed with all its silver was a mentality that would cultivate the culture so a large number of people would be workers, teachers, missionaries, church men. So that when the silver is gone, the values that are far above the silver will linger.
Where do we find real value? It’s in a mother’s heart. It’s in the missionary who goes by faith and is a worker not because of money. Money is a poor motivator. Knowing God is a great motivator. God is at work.
Discover the joy of being a human being that enjoys the labor. Ecclesiastes 5:18-19 tells us that there is something to be said about showing up, being responsible, doing our best, and trusting God even when we don’t like it. When the project is done, there is something good about it to say; it was a pure, true, genuine blessing from God.