God's Good Idea: Work

Devotional

Work and Redemption

In Genesis chapter 3, Adam and Eve sin. Their decisions have disastrous consequences that stretch all the way to the modern workplace. As a result of their sin, we read in Genesis 3:

“…cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you…” - Gen. 3:17b-18a

Sin created alienation between people and God, among people, and between people and the earth that was to support them. Work became more difficult and liable to failure and unintended consequences. Work was not inherently a curse, but the curse affects our work.

Notice that although the ground is "cursed," the people are not, for God is not abandoning humanity. In fact, God continues to provide for Adam and Eve, even to the point of sewing clothes for them when they lack the skill themselves (Gen. 3:21).

Despite the curse, the work commissioned in Genesis 1 and 2 continues. There is still ground to be tilled and phenomena of nature to be studied, described and named. Men and women must still be fruitful, must still multiply, must still govern.

But now, a second layer of work must also be accomplished—the work of healing and repairing things that go wrong and evils that are committed. In a world of sin and sadness, many jobs echo God’s redemption: Scientists and salespersons help people overcome various difficulties by providing products to make life easier and healthier. Law enforcement officers and parents provide safety in the midst of chaos. Accountants and repairmen fix broken ledgers, appliances and technology.

These and other roles project hope for the coming restoration (Revelation 21:1). One day, brokenness will be gone; pain will be no more. But until that day, even the most frustrating jobs can be means by which we carry out the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). We can reflect Jesus’ finished work in our own lives as we display God’s characteristics to the world and work to redeem areas of brokenness.

Prayer

God, you alone are our glorious Redeemer. But you empower us to display your glory and redemption to those around us. Help us in everyday moments to shine forth your image, character and attributes through our work. Show us where we can display your gospel’s work by reconciling areas of brokenness in our jobs. Amen.

We hope this plan encouraged you. You can find more plans from the Theology of Work Project at www.theologyofwork.org/devotions