Work is a divine gift. Do all the good you can while you can.
Work is a manifestation of existence, life, and an expression of purpose. Even before the issue of sin had entered into the world, work was already given to the first Man. God gave him job descriptions with the simple and realistic “how-to’s” of accomplishing it.
Now, I’m aware that the business industry is deemed to be the voice of authority for defining and determining work today. However, I believe that the existence of work is not Man-made. It was rather originated and exemplified first of all by the divine Creator. He taught us how to work by displaying the work of His hands before us, around us, within us, and everywhere. Hence, “Creation” does not only show the power of God, for us to behold and admire.
Creation also shows God’s wisdom, inspiring us to learn from Him – the way He works things out. In other words, God wants you to make Him your Model for work. As a matter of fact, for us to be able to imitate God, He created us according to His image and likeness. This “image” enables Man to do marvelous things beginning from the Ancient civilization till the Postmodern Age. And you know what? Whether you believe it or not, this moral and spiritual dignity that God bestowed upon us as His “image bearers” is the foundation for the reason and purpose of work.
Let me reason this out based on God’s declaration in Genesis 1:28:
“So God created man in his own image…And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
As you observe, the reason why God has committed to Man the responsibility and work of “dominion” and “subduing” the earth is because among God’s earthly creatures, only Man was created according to His image. Man has the spiritual and moral faculty which are so vital for this God-given task. Thus, this fact has established that “work” is not a mere biological function for the sake of looking for ways for physical survival and material gain. Work in its true nature is not rooted in that. Work has a higher purpose and this higher purpose is connected to its spiritual and moral natures. And to tell you, only by realizing this can we begin to work like God.
Work s Unto The Lord
Now, from the passage, there are at least 3 basic principles that we can deduce showing us how to work like God. They are the following:
1. Work is Sacred
Since work comes from God and is a necessity produced by the divine image in human nature, therefore it is a “sacred” thing. This sacredness is so important for the quality of work produced. Let me emphasize this again: God was willing to commit to Man the task of “dominion” on earth, to become His prince regent not because Man is the most intelligent creature on earth, but because he was created according to God’s image.
According to Theologians, this “image” refers to the moral and spiritual faculty of Man that governs the powers of his mind and volition. And since originally God created Man holy, righteous, and good, therefore the task of “dominion” would never be used for corruption and selfishness. But of course, the Fall of Man into Sin (Genesis 3) has radically changed his perspective of work. It has been corrupted and become self-driven. But through Christ, the sacredness of work could be restored in the heart of man – to work driven by divine inspiration.
2. Work is a Positive Production of Potential through Godly Executions
In the passage, you’ll read how God sanctioned Man to “have dominion,” “fill,” and “subdue” the earth. These words are actually significant. But let me just point out that this was the obvious manner of work that God gave to the first Man, Adam. I know that today, these words might connote a negative implication as if Adam will become an autocratic leader on earth, unsympathetic, and self-centered. But this is not the case here. Remember, this command was given before Adam fell into sin. Thus, the manner of “dominion” and “subduing” that God was commanding him here is about “managing” and “maximizing” God’s creation to its fullest. In other words, Adam was commanded to bring out the “potential” of every creature through godly management. So that by bringing out the “potential” of every creature they will in effect produce something positive and pleasurable.
3. Work’s Intention is to Care
This is implied in the manner of “dominion” that Adam needs to do. As you see, dominion is not for “destruction” or “corruption,” it’s for the purpose of taking care of God’s creation. In other words, Adam must make sure that his “management” of God’s creation is beneficial. God entrusted to him this work so that as the bearer of God’s image he will also become a reflection of God’s goodness and blessings to other creatures. That’s the “intention” of his work, to express the goodness of the Creator.
Applying these principles might of course make us far different from the Business Management principles of the world. Yet, this is how God works. The good thing is, when God works, there are surely positive and productive accomplishments. And so however small or big your work is in the sight of Man, don’t focus on that. But rather, make it sacred by bringing the principles of God’s work into it. So that by acknowledging God in it you will use it for producing something that is good that will bring glory to God and blessings to others.