Theology Thursday: The Gift of Work

By Shelly Hogan, D.Min.

Volunteers in soup kitchen experiencing the gift of work

For many people, work is considered a hard and unfortunate task that everyone must do if they want to have anything or get anywhere in life. This negative perspective positions work as a hard task master or necessary “evil” that can stand in the way of the good things in life. To combat this perspective, there is a secret we must learn from a biblical perspective; the gift of work is one of the good things in life.

To clearly understand this, we need to examine when the concept of the gift of work entered the picture. To do that we must go to the beginning, the book of Genesis.

“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.’” (Genesis 1:27-28, ASV)

From this passage we can gain some understanding of the true nature of work.

The Path of Purpose

Work began at creation and is a part of the dominion mandate from God. It should not be considered something we do to live, rather, as something we live to do. In other words, the gift of work is an opportunity to fulfill passion and purpose.

Work is an opportunity to express talent, connect with others and meet needs in ourselves and for the greater good. Work is an avenue through which we offer ourselves, and our abilities, to the world. At its best, it is a grand collaboration with God and others.

This perspective reminds us that work has value because we have value as the image bearers of God. When we work, we fulfill our created purpose.

The Promise of Provision

From the passage in Genesis, we know that God blessed humanity with purpose and in the fulfillment of purpose, there would be an increase or provision. When God said, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28, ASV), He imparted a two-part blessing and mandate over humanity.

First, the call to fruitfulness is a call to productivity. Faithful work positions us for God’s provision. When we put our heart into our task, there will be significant benefits. It is the law of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7-9, ASV).

Second, it is a call to greatness. The mandate to multiply is not only numerical, it is noble. God is inviting us to greatness in becoming all that He envisions us to be. It is a promise of provision and of purpose. In other words, we will have what we need, and we will be able to meet the needs of others through our being all that God created us to be.

The Proper Perspective

God is always at work and what He is doing matters and is good. What we do in partnership with God matters too. We are hardwired to work well and prosper as a blessing from the beginning of humanity. Be encouraged, find your purpose and prosper in the gift of your work.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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