Though the first message recap, this is the second part of our new series, God at Work. Last week, we were blessed by four members of our church, who participated in a discussion panel surrounding their vocations and how it aligns with God’s vision for work. Today, we have the privilege of hearing from Jim Larson, a faithful member of Mosaic, father, husband, friend, and employee of the secular world.
Unfortunately, the numbers in which people are unhappy and find their job meaningless are ever increasing (more than 50% of people in our society claim both). Not only is this heartbreaking, but it absolutely is out of the will of God; therefore, it’s critical that we ask ourselves, “as the church, how should we think about work?” and “what does God say about it?”. In the next few weeks, we are going to answer a few important questions (i.e.: why do we work, how do we work, and where do we work?). In each instance, we want to identify and reflect upon the overarching question: what is God’s heart for this work?
Let’s address 2 myths about work:
- Work is meaningless
- Why? A lot of people are working solely for the purpose of getting a paycheck. And, though some of us know that work is an opportunity for missions, to spread the Gospel, God still has more in mind.
- Work is our primary identity
- Too often, our first question when meeting someone new is ” what do you do?”. It can incorrectly reduce someone down as seen only by their occupation; though important, it is only one very small aspect of their character and giftings. Too often, we think that knowing one’s vocation is the closest we can get to understanding someone’s identity.
Genesis 1:1-10: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:26-2:3: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
Genesis 2:5-9: When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 2:15-20: The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.
Genesis, and specifically these passages here, present two radical Truths about work:
- We have a God who works, and He delights in it (He’s a gardener. He gets down and dirty!).
- God doesn’t just do “high” work; His work is expansive and varied. All of this work isn’t just good; it’s worthy of God. No work is medial to Him, because He chose to do it first.
- He calls us to two types of work:
- Co-creation: He invited Adam into the work of naming the animals, and He commands us to “be fruitful and multiply”.
- Co-provision: We are called to co-labor with God.
- Psalm 145:15: The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.
- Our identity, first and foremost, is in our Maker – not in our role at work
- Our value is high and fixed by God. It’s impossibly to be devalued when you are His “special possession”.
We have the honor and privilege and freedom to co-labor with God, who made all things in Heaven and Earth. What an honor and a joy! Lord, open our eyes that we may see work the way you do. It is good because you have said so. Thank you, God.
Biblical references: Genesis 1:1-10; Genesis 1:26-2:3; Genesis 2:5-9; Genesis 2:15-20; Psalm 145:15
- Are there any places are you letting your identity be in your work and not in who God says you are? If so, what are they?
- How is God calling you to co-labor with him?