Read His Words Before Ours!
As a 14 year-old, I was thrilled to start earning money. Bagging groceries never sounded so glorious! I quickly learned, however, just how hard I had to work to pay for the teen necessities of Gap jeans and outings with friends.
As I entered adulthood, I gained a deeper understanding of my work, beyond a monthly paycheck. I learned how God designed work to be a gift, both to the worker and the world.
Genesis 1 paints a beautiful example of God’s work in creation. The image isn’t one of drudgery or complaint, but of beauty, energy, creativity, and calling the end result “good.” (Genesis 1:31) God enjoyed creating and working because He saw a greater purpose.
God established purpose in work for humanity, as well. In Genesis 1:28, God gives authority over the earth to Adam, commanding him to “subdue it”. Adam’s dominion wasn’t a reckless use of the earth’s resources for selfish gain, but rather a rule of careful stewardship.
Genesis 2:15 reiterates, “The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it.”
It’s critical to recognize these mandates were given to Adam before sin entered the world. Work was not a problem, nor was it punishment. In the perfection of Eden, the work we were created to do was a gift and privilege.
God wove holy work into our design as an act of love toward humanity.
But He didn’t leave us there.
Instead, He created a rescue plan, full of hope and grace, in Jesus.
He promises to faithfully complete His work within us (Romans 8:28) as He makes all things new. (Revelation 21:5) Therefore, our work can be done with excellence and faithfulness, even while we are not perfect.
Genesis 1:26-27 tells us that we have been made in the image of God. Much like a mirror reflects what is before it, we have been created to reflect the character of God before us.
Not to be God, but to reflect Him.
When God created, He did so with joy, creativity, purpose, and with the end result in mind. His work gives us an image of His glory. Likewise, God has established good works in advance for His followers to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
Out of His love for us,
He has given us work as a gift and privilege,
to exercise the skills He’s given us,
all to display His greatness. (I Corinthians 10:31)
Every task we’re given is for the purpose of pointing to a Creator God who is full of joy, excellence, justice, integrity, grace, mercy, and beauty. This is kingdom work.
We’re not just talking about missionaries, evangelists, and pastors.
No, the kingdom of God is much broader, bigger, and fuller than a few vocations.
While Jesus lived on the earth, especially before His public ministry, He worked an ordinary job. Learning carpentry from His earthly father enabled Him to earn a living in an honest, simple, ordinary way.
The Kingdom of God is anywhere where God rules. Jesus came to teach us about and to usher in the Kingdom of God. We can apply Jesus’ approach to kingdom work to our own efforts.
Does God rule our motivation and attitudes?
Does He rule the use of our time on the clock?
Do we have a long-term view of how our work will serve those around us?
Do we aim to reflect God’s character in our work day?
When our heart for the simple, ordinary work before us mirrors His own, we are doing kingdom work.
In John 17:11-19, Jesus reminds us we are not of the world; rather, He has sent us into the world. While our identity isn’t rooted in the world, we are here to serve, impact, and love the world through the tasks the Father gives us. He’s shared with each of us a slice of creation to steward well, for His glory.
The awesome impact of kingdom work is highlighted as Proverbs 11:10 declares,
“When the righteous thrive, a city rejoices;
when the wicked die, there is joyful shouting.”
When we are using the gifts and skills God designed for us, working with excellence to bring the most glory to God, we will flourish in a way that blesses and serves our co-workers, communities, families, cities, and beyond.
Whether we’re collecting garbage around the neighborhood or collecting plates off
of a restaurant table,
designing websites or church bulletins,
nursing the ill back to health or nursing a newborn baby in the night,
the foundation can be the same.
Let’s align ourselves with the kingdom of God, be faithful in our work, and purpose to bring glory and honor to the King.
It’s what we are created to do.
Author’s note: A few years ago, I wrote a song surrounding work and vocation in light of the Kingdom of God. If you’d like to hear a modest recording of The Work of our Here and Now, head to the link here.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!