If there’s a topic many of us get easily confused about, it’s the issue of work. On one hand, we have those who think work is cursed and therefore a bad thing, while others have such a view of work that they think hustling and striving for success is the way to go. Neither is fully accurate.
Let’s dive into the Word to better understand God’s view of work!
4 Biblical Truths about Work
Work is a good thing.
So often we have this idea that work itself is a bad thing, but this isn’t the case. In Genesis 1:26-28 we see Adam and Eve being tasked with work – and this was before the fall ever took place!
We truly were actually created specifically to do work – “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female. God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.’”
The Fall has negatively impacted work.
It is true that the fall and subsequent curse has made our work far harder than it would have otherwise been, but work itself is still good.
We see the impact of the fall in Genesis 3:17b-19, “The ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust.’”
3. Hustle and striving can be problematic.
While work is a good thing and our having a good work ethic honors God, the hustling and striving that is all too common in our day and age are a problem. The spirit of striving reveals a lack of trust in God, as we think we have to do more, hustle harder, and refuse to rest in order to get ahead and reach our goals.
But this is not the way of the Kingdom. We are told in Isaiah 30:15, “For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said: “You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence. But you are not willing.” Quiet confidence and rest – this is what we should seek. Having a good work ethic and trusting in the sovereignty of God to bless your work and bring about the fruits of your labors at just the right time are not mutually exclusive.
Ephesians 2:10 assures us, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.” That purpose, work, goal or mission God has laid on our hearts? It will come to pass. And we don’t have to hustle or strive to make sure it does! God’s got it all under control.
4. Rest and the sabbath is important.
Until we understand point three, we will never be able to live in light of this fourth point. We have to first understand that hustling and striving are not a part of God’s design for us before we will be willing to rest and see the importance of doing so.
The book of Genesis tells us that God created everything in six days and then on the seventh day, He rested (see Genesis 2:1-3). This wasn’t because He had to (He is omnipotent, after all!).
He did this in order to provide us a practical example that we would sorely need. We see this illustrated by Jesus’ words in Mark 2:27, “Then he told them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.’” Truly, we do our bodies (and our future work!) harm when we refuse to rest.
As you approach your first job, your first step into a new career or just another day at the office, may you walk away encouraged to know that work is a good thing, you were made for this and that rest and sabbath can be yours – God has never called you to hustle or to strive. Rest in those truths as you go about your work today, friend!