During the six days of creation recorded in the first chapter of Genesis, God creates, reflects on what he just created, and sees that each created thing is “good.” The last thing that God creates is people. After creating us, God reflects on his entire creation and sees that it is “very good.”
We are the pinnacle of God’s creation. God created the earth for us, so that we would not only survive but also thrive here. Thriving, however, requires effort on our part. It requires work. This is clear from what happened right after God created us.
God gave us a mandate to “fill the earth” and “subdue it” by exercising our dominion over all animals (v. 28). God created the earth to have everything that we need, but nature can be wild, harsh, and unforgiving. Unless we subdue the earth, we may not thrive or even survive.
Even though God put Adam and Eve in a paradise called the garden of Eden, he instructed them to cultivate and preserve it. The garden had every tree that was good for food, and even without efforts from Adam and Eve, the garden probably could have sustained them and their children for years and years. So why did God instruct them to cultivate it? God already knew Adam and Eve would sin, so their farming efforts in the garden would serve them well when they would later have to farm in less hospitable places in the future.
Just as God created the earth for us, he created work for us, so that we would maintain the earth for our benefit and for the benefit of the other created beings who share the earth with us. We are not supposed to endure work but to enjoy it.
Work is a good gift from a very good God. He’s the best boss you’ll ever have.