Work. Sooner or later we all have to do it. But have you ever considered what gives work its inherent value? Perhaps you think of your paycheck. Many do. If you really love your job, you might think that your personal enjoyment gives your work value. But what if you’re not paid much, or you really don’t like your boss?
For the longest time I thought that work was a result of the fall of man. That after Adam and Eve had sinned in the garden, God disciplined Adam with labor, and then God disciplined Eve with labor of a different kind (one which every man I’ve ever met was thankful he didn’t have to go through).
Here were God’s words to Adam after the fall:
Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return (Genesis 3:17-19).
But while the fall of man occurs in Genesis 3, man is actually assigned work to do in Genesis 2. Here is Adam’s job description:
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it (Genesis 2:15).
Prior to his punishment Adam is responsible to work and keep the garden. Interesting. Work is humanity’s responsibility in a pre-fallen world.
Herein lies the inherent value of work: God not only assigned work, but God does work.
Consider these verses:
In the beginning God created… (Gen. 1:1)
He who began a good work in you… (Phil. 1:6).
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus… (Eph. 2:10).
Work has value, because God is a worker (Gen. 2:3), and we were made in his image (Gen. 1:26-27). When we work with the right attitude we are reflecting the image of God to those around us. Such a perspective does not require a pay raise, a good boss, or even that you like your job.
Contentment is possible when you reflect upon the truth that God created you to work, and you make visible his invisible character, when you do.