Working for a purpose

Saturday, September 1, 2007

God created us for work. If we truly want to cling to the biblical truth that God created us for life, purpose and Sabbath we must also submit to the proposition that work is a part of life.

Adam and Eve, created in the image of their creator (an act of work itself) were completely supplied for. They were given every fruit, every tree to abundantly provide for their needs, minus one. Accompanying the overabundance of provision and the permissive command to enjoy was the instruction to work.

"Subdue the earth," Adam is told launching into the first biological expedition. Examining every creature of the created order. In true biological fashion he identifies their uniqueness, recognizing their commonalities, naming each one according to their species. Imagine Adam standing and inspecting the mane of the great lion. Hearing the purr of the mighty beast as his fingers filtered through his fur; feeling the waft of his hot breath on his face as he examined his mighty teeth.

Yet we live in a fallen world. The scar of Adam has disfigured us, forcing us to live in a world in which sin has cursed the ground. A world in which it is toilsome to plant and to grow. A world where the sweat of the brow, a result of the fall, is the mark of a hard working exhausted man. Sin has marred the world so that there is always work to be done and never enough time to do it all.

The greatest calling in our lives is not to a career or a job or a title. The greatest calling in our lives is our calling to God. Pursuing God and allowing him to change us into who he created us to be is more fulfilling than any amount of contributions and recognitions.

When we embrace all that God has created us to be, when the scar of Adam begins to wash away through the redemption of Jesus, work becomes more exhilarating than toilsome. An amazing transformation in our understanding occurs. Our work is no longer driven by the need to feel better by our position and abilities but out of our posture before the glory of God. Working for the glory of his name -- which is what we were created for -- becomes the source of joy in our toil.

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father and serves as the associate pastor at the First Baptist Church in Jackson.

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