God created us to be productive

The Standard January 19, 2023

In the divine design, God created us to work and to be productive. There is something satisfying about creating or cultivating, as the Lord has gifted each of us in a unique way. We can find fulfillment in striking work-life balance, as we perform the tasks well which God has put before us.

“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.” “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2: 7-8; 15)

Life before the Fall brings to mind images of a land flowing with milk and honey. There was a garden to be tended, but it would not be back-breaking work. Thanks to God’s provision, there would be a good life, including an abundance of food. The Fall changed a major element of that.

“To Adam he [God] said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ ‘Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.’”(Genesis 3:17-19)

With the sin of Adam and Eve, the nature of human labor took a negative turn. For many people it is extremely difficult to put food on the table. Some of us are fortunate enough to work in areas where we feel gifted or called, while others do not have the luxury of choosing their ideal employment.

In the Old and New Testaments, we find that God expects us to work hard and well.  “The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work. All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing.” (Proverbs 21:25-26) “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.’” (2 Thessalonians 3:6-10)

Although we might be tempted to consider some jobs as more noble or godly than others, any work done with the aim of pleasing the Lord is special. Remember that God-given skills can take many different forms.

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills– to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also, I have given ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you.” (Exodus 31:1-6)

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