Doing Good Work
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
Many Americans go to the beach on Labor Day weekend, or another favorite vacation spot in the woods or mountains, or perhaps taking a “stay-cation” in their own backyard. This holiday marks the end of summer, the last chance to relax together as a family before school and fall activities start.
It’s a good time to think about labor—work. Work is regarded, even by some Christians, as part of the curse that came as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin (Genesis 3:1-24).
But if you look more closely, you will see that work came before the curse. When God created Adam in his image, He gave him work to do—just as He Himself had worked in creation (Genesis 2:15,19-20).
The word labor or toil comes from a root word meaning “representative, messenger, one sent.” God placed Adam and Eve on earth to care for it as his representatives (Genesis 1:26-28). After they disobeyed, their sin did have an effect on work. God cursed the ground with thorns and thistles and said, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food” (Genesis 3:17-19).
We all find thorns and thistles in our gardens. Fellow workers do not always cooperate. Someone else gets the attention or raise we wanted. Our ideal job turns out to be much more effort than we expected. We sweat, maybe psychologically more than physically.
We need to recognize that God has given us work—“good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” as Paul says in Ephesians 2:10. We need to seek his guidance in finding our jobs and then dedicate them unto Him, especially when difficulties appear. If we allow God to work through the thorns, thistles and sweat, we will grow and be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-30).
Can you see that God has given you your work? Instead of “TGIF,” can you say, “Thank you God, for the work you’ve given me”?
Read Genesis 1:26-31. What specific work(s) did God give Adam and Eve? Think about your own life. What specific work has God given you?
Read James 1:2-4. What does James say is produced when you face thorns, thistles and sweat (various trials)? Can you see how your difficulties are producing these characteristics in you?
Read 1Thessalonians 1:3. What does Paul say are three things fueled the Thessalonians’ work and endurance? What fuel do you rely on?
Nancy J. Baker