“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.” Genesis 2:15
In this series of articles, we are looking at the nature and value of work. The Christian view of work comes from the Bible. Surprisingly the idea of work appears very early in the Bible. In the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam work to do. He was to care for the garden and to name the animals. And Genesis specifically says that God put Adam in the garden for the purpose of this work. Chapter 2, verse 15 says that God put Adam in the Garden to “work the garden and take care of it.” This could not be much plainer and appears in the second chapter in the Bible.
There is no indication that this work was particularly difficult in the Garden and this is significant. Before the fall, that is, before Adam sinned, work was not a chore, but a wonderful endeavor in which Adam sensed God’s presence and pleasure.
But it was not just Adam who worked in the Garden. What is much more important is that God worked. What was God’s work? It was the work of creation. God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God said, “Let the waters swarm with living creatures,” and it was so. The Bible does not give the indication that creation was hard for God. That is an amazing but very important part of how Genesis, chapters 1 and 2 are written. The work of creation did not exhaust God. It did not give him a headache. Or frustrate him. In fact God’s power is such that he simply said the word, he spoke, and what did not exist came into existence. This is not to say that creation is not complex and sophisticated. It is, in the extreme. But that creation is the result of God’s command, is in the Bible, simply a statement of the immense power and greatness of God.
The term work is specifically used to describe God’s acts of creation. At the end of creation, it says that God rested from all his labors on the seventh day. He rested from all the “work” he had done. This is found in Genesis, chapter 2, verse 2. Theologians generally do not consider that this day of rest was primarily for God’s sake as if he was exhausted after making everything. Rather it was primarily to set a pattern for humans that they should not work all the time. Six days you may work but then take a day off from work for rest, for family, and for worship.
What then is the purpose of the Sabbath? Jesus would say, in Mark 2:27, that man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man. The Sabbath is a gift from God. It means that we do not have to work all the time. We should take some time for rest and refreshing. Family and worship are important priorities, as well as work.
This week be sure your life has balance in relation to work. Do not work so hard that other important priorities suffer. One day, each week is to be set aside to renew our mind, energy, family, and faith. On the other hand, be sure to work honestly and diligently. Do your best at whatever is your work. Doing so reflects God's nature and honors God who gave us this gift.
With Warm Regards,