God works in his acts of creation, and creates us to be co-workers with him, made in his image. We share in the responsibility for care of nature, production of food and nurturing our society. School-work, house-work, art-work, communicating, helping – work is much more than putting food on the table. What God thinks about work, how we understand it, is vital if we’re not to be shaped by the world around us.
A sermon on Genesis 2:1-18 recently concluded with four questions for reflection (slightly adapted) :
1. Am I a co-labourer with God in my work? Or a slave to my work?
2. Do I recognize that God has uniquely shaped me for his kingdom purposes? Or do I feel my work is not significant?
3. Do I know that I am blessed by God to be a blessing to others? Or is my work/life for my benefit?
4. Do I value every opportunity to be a co-labourer with God? Or is only ‘spiritual ministry’ important?
There are several key Bible passages to help us understand work. Genesis 2 tells us that work is sharing with God in his purposes, caring for the land and the wider creation. Colossians 3:17 is widely applicable, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him .” As well as 2 Thessalonians 3:13 “… never tire of doing what is good.” Jesus expected that our good deeds (works) should be seen by others, and they in turn give glory to our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
Timothy Keller’s book, Every Good Endeavour, is helpful to navigate the complexities and expectations of work in our societies. The Theology of Work Project has excellent and extensive resources.
Work opens opportunities for serving or outreach. Check out Work as Globalocal Mission 2021 conference – it’s FREE, Saturday September 18, 2021 9am – 3 pm U.S.Pacific Daylight Time (a break from 11.30am -12.30pm). Panels on topics relevant to local and global Christian witness.