As I sat listening to my Sunday School teacher read to us about Adam and Eve’s really bad decision, I couldn’t help but think about snack time. I was ADHD before it was in the medical textbooks. When they added it, they could have had a picture of me as an illustration of what it looks like in real life. But, I, like others with this malady, digress. Anyway, after I thought about what snacks would be, I zoned back in to hear something about women having a really rough go having babies, and I heard about Adam and other guys having to work really hard to get the ground to produce food. “By the sweat of your brow…” is what Adam was told. I was really mad at that snake. Before that, I imagined that Adam and Eve just lounged around and fruit would fall from the trees or vines into their mouths. They swam, ate, played, climbed trees, rode dinosaurs, rode elephants, rode giraffes…they rode any animal they wanted to ride. What a life. Then, they ate that one fruit out of the entire PLANET that God told them not to eat. Ah, what could have been.
But wait. That’s not exactly correct. Yes, the dinosaur riding, swimming, and tree climbing, those are all true. It’s the work part that I was wrong about.
Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to
cultivate it and keep it. Genesis 2:15
Those words, cultivate and keep, are from the Hebrew לְעָבְדָ֖הּ (le·'a·ve·dah), translated to work, or serve and וּלְשָׁמְרָֽהּ׃, translated to keep, watch, or preserve. Those all sound like jobs. So, as I read back through the account in Genesis, I’ve realized that it wasn’t work that was cursed. It was the ground! Our work, for sure, now that the ground was cursed would be harder, and sometimes not very enjoyable. But, work itself was and is, GOOD.
So, where does this leave us? I wrote about finding that thing that when we do it, we can “feel God’s pleasure,” in a previous post (God’s Will Hunting). But, what about when we just have to have a job? I have definitely had seasons of my life where I was working in jobs that may not have been the most natural fit to how God gifted me. I am fairly certain that all of us will have to do jobs at one time or another where we aren’t “in the zone,” or where “when you do what you love you never work a day of your life.” No. Sometimes we just have to grind. So, why did God give man work to do? There are three great reasons that I see when I look at scripture.1. God uses it as a means to provide for us physically. The 2nd chapter of Genesis from which I shared a verse earlier shows us this.The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. 9 Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not [n]eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:8-9, 15-17
There are several in Proverbs as well. Here is one.
Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense. Proverbs 12:11
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. I Cor. 10:31
Each day we go into the world with the opportunity to make an impact. Each person whose paths cross ours matters. Lives intersect for a reason. I believe there is One who directs our steps to these sometimes seemingly random meetings. My goal for these encounters is that I make a difference. That is my desire for those who venture across my blog. I hope you are blessed and it makes a difference for you.