In the beginning, God worked. And in that work, He created mankind and promptly told them to work. God created everything, including work, by working.
When God created the universe, He showed us many traits that characterize who He is. We see His mighty power, where He created something out of nothing. We see His purpose, where He created everything for a reason. We see His process, where He created everything in its time and in its order. We see His productivity, where He created an entire universe in a week. We see His creativity, where He painted sunsets and composed the birds’ songs. We see his passion, where He loved creating the stars and all the living things and was pleased with it. And, finally, we see that He understands the need for rest, where He included time at the end of His creative work to relax and reflect.
God is a worker, and when He created us in His image (a likeness of Himself), He passed along that worker identity. We were created to work. We were created to do powerful, passionate, purposeful work. God looked back at the work He did and was pleased with it. We should be able to do the same. Did we do it for the right reason? Did we give it our all? Are we proud of what we accomplished?
Let’s take a step back to consider what work is. Typically, the first place our minds go when we hear the word “work” is that work equals our job. That is just our vocational work – the work we do to provide for ourselves or for our family. Work covers so much more. The first work God gave us to do was to “be fruitful and multiply” – to be productive in the things we do and to raise the next generation. The next work was to get the earth under control and to rule over it. Work also includes helping others, playing sports, painting, staying in shape, and just about anything that takes effort.
God did not intend for us to do all this work alone. He even created the second human to help the first one do his work. At our jobs, there are accountants, janitors, executives, customers, and vendors to keep the business going. When raising a family, both the parents and the children need support from teachers, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and friends. Ruling over and subduing the earth takes world leaders, politicians, farmers, scientists, doctors, and so forth. Even when working out we do better when we have a partner. As Christians, we are called the body of Christ because we each bring something different and important to the table, and every part of the body is needed to complete and compliment the whole. The single most important help we need, though, is from God Himself.
It is easy for us to compartmentalize each of our different areas of work from each other and from what we do in church on Sunday. If the only thing that is common between our different work and worship areas is us, we are back to being alone in a way. If we were to invite God into our job, our family time, our playtime, and our creativity, we will see Him show up in a big way and help us in ways we did not even know we needed help. Imagine getting a second pair of eyes that can spot safety issues at home or the bad intentions of a hostile coworker. Imagine getting a second pair of hands that can move mountains and calm storms. How about a whisper in our boss’s ear to give us more interesting projects or a whisper in our own ear to not go off at our teammate for making a simple mistake? He can even bring joy to our work when we are ready to pull our hair out.
We were created for all kinds of work because God does all kinds of work. We can do passionate, powerful, meaningful work because our God does passionate, powerful, meaningful work. And if we invite Him to labor with us our work will be God-sized instead of me-sized.