God took the Man and set him down in the Garden of Eden to work the ground and keep it in order.
-Genesis 2:15 (The Message)
Since moving to Kansas City I have had a number of jobs. I have worked as a barista, a youth minister, a freelance writer, a bus driver, a yard care specialist, and, just this week, I was paid a small fee to provide taxi service for a man in my neighborhood. I cannot say I have enjoyed every minute of these jobs, and I trust most who work could say the same of their employment. It isn't all soft money, and we are tempted to complain. For those familiar with the Bible, we often do so in terms of Genesis 3--the curse.
However, we do well to remember that the mandate to keep and tend the garden came prior to the moment the man and woman took and ate the forbidden fruit. Work preceded rebellion, and the curse. Work is not the curse, toil is.
Why does this matter? Because work is part of all, if not most of our lives. Our attitude toward our work is important. We derive meaning from our work, and it is a critical space for our formation in Christ. It is the arena of faithfulness. It is a space wherein God can teach and instruct us, and where we can image forth Jesus, not only in our conversations about what we believe, but with regard to the way we carry out our responsibilities.
Diligent work in your job today is an extension of God's action in Genesis 2, and builds credibility for gospel witness. Jesus came to renew all things, including the realm of work. Approach your work today by first affirming God's gift of work, and ask for help in performing your responsibilities in a manner that brings honor to Jesus Christ.
Lord, help me to conduct myself in my work in a way that brings honor to you. Help me see my work as a meaningful venture, contributing in some way to the upbuilding of human community. Give me wisdom when I speak and strength as I put my hands to various tasks. Let me be a blessing to my neighbor, whether co-worker or customer. In Christ's name, amen.