Work is just a means to an end. Does this sound familiar?
Genesis 1:26-28 tells us that we are created in God’s image and that we are called to exercise dominion over the whole creation. This is the cultural mandate, also known as our call to creativity.
Only God can make something out of nothing, but he calls us to make something out of something. We have the ability to take a tree and make a table; to take clay and make a statue; to take metal and make a musical instrument.
We need to work to provide for ourselves and our families, but we shouldn’t miss the central point: we are created to work.
The Fall has significantly impacted our attitudes towards work and has made answering our callings more difficult. Resistance to doing excellent work can come from our sins of laziness, pride, and greed.
The gospel of Christ not only saves our souls, but also restores us to who God created us to be. Yet the gospel many preach is limited to personal sin and personal redemption. Redemption is comprehensive. It extends to the church, the body of Christ, and to all of creation. Everything will be redeemed (Acts 3:21).
If we emphasize that redemption works to restore everything the Fall has impacted, we would have a theology that could transform all of life.
This complete redemption includes the restoration of a new heaven and a new earth that is mentioned in Revelation 21. Our work today on earth matters for God’s restoration of all things.
Work continues in the new heavens and new earth – minus the blood, sweat, and tears. In heaven, we will sing a “new song” (Revelation 5:9). Creativity continues.
C.S. Lewis sees our eternal state as an ongoing adventure. At the end of The Last Battle, he writes,
All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and title page. Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever, in which every chapter is better than the one before.
Think of the infinitely creative God coming up with infinite adventures for all eternity. It is not a stretch to anticipate human creativity being part of that “Great Adventure.”
How does this theology change the way you view work?
Catch a glimpse of what being creative at work looks like with this video from the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics.