the sermon at church yesterday was on WORK – our careers, the jobs we have as humans here on earth. gary, our pastor, as well as tony, one of the elders who also happens to be an executive at wells fargo, did an amazing job with it, and i was really inspired by the message and wanted to share some of the points that stuck with me. this week’s verses were from genesis 1:29 – 2:17. there are so many different things to take out of these verses, but i loved what gary focused on, our vocations.
genesis 2:1-3 says, “by the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. and God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” the obvious message here is that it is meaningful rhythm to rest. i love the quote, “if you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit.” it’s so true and so important.
but the less obvious message from these verses is that our God works. the work that God did is mentioned three times in those three verses because he is a worker. and God created human beings to bear his image, so we were created to work. which brings me to the takeaways from the sermon:
- all humans were designed to work. you were created for work and your work matters to God. when he created man and woman, “God blessed them and said to them, ‘be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” [genesis 1:28]. this doesn’t just mean “have babies!” God created all the raw materials on this earth, but the world is ready to be cultivated by human beings that fill it with the glory of God. he didn’t create bread – he created wheat, and human beings to cultivate it and sow seeds and make flour to make bread, so God, in cooperation with humans, made bread. gary used the same example for homes – God didn’t just create homes, already standing – he created the materials for building, and the humans to build. and God designed you for your work, so your occupation is important to him. gary likened the Lord to a kind father who says to you each day, “tell me about your day at work.” just because your work isn’t done explicitly in the name of God [as it is for pastors, non-profit organizations, etc.] doesn’t mean that it’s not the work of Christ. in every job, you will experience sin but can also be a part of God’s common grace. we are called to worship the Lord in all aspects of our lives, allow God to shape us in all aspects of our lives, make disciples in all aspects of our lives, and allow the gospel to shine through our hearts to others in all aspects of our lives. each of our individual jobs matter, and we shouldn’t be ashamed of what we do.
- good work glorifies God. as we saw in genesis, work existed long before the fall of man and original sin. it is good. it was never meant to be any kind of punishment. genesis 2:15 says, “the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of eden to work it and take care of it.” to work and to keep it. these words in hebrew are the same words used for the roles of the priests in the temple of God – to serve and to protect. as we do the work that God called us to do, we should go into it as priests of the God of the universe. we need to do the things that humans were made to do, and when we do it well, God is glorified. in this way, it’s not always about the proclamation, but often it’s the demonstration.
- God gives good boundaries around our work. as mentioned already, God emphasizes the importance of resting. he also tells adam and eve not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. this tree, when eaten from, is a declaration of not trusting the authority of God. basically, when we declare autonomy from our Father, everything turns to chaos and destruction. but by doing the work we were designed to do, we create order and fill the world with the glory of God. we shouldn’t think of work as something we hasten to do so that we can get to our leisure time. it’s normal for people to want to do as little as possible and get paid as much as possible, but we all need to reset the way that we think. as tony mentioned, in marriage and parenthood, no one says that it’s always going to be fair, that you always give to get something equal in return. vocations should be thought of in the same way as marriage and parenthood. in matthew 11:28, jesus says, “come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and i will give you rest.” but immediately following that verse is verse 29, in which he says, “take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” we need to be yoked apprentices of jesus, and we will find our burdens to be lighter.
[to listen to the entire sermon, here’s the link. it probably won’t be available until later in the week.] anyway, this had me thinking how i can use my vocation to glorify God. yes, we should always be trying to make disciples and spread the gospel. but more than just that, by doing my job well and not dreading monday morning or wishing the weeks away, i am glorifying God. he called me to do this very job and that’s pretty cool. it was good motivation for me on this monday morning, and hopefully it will be for you too. have a great week! xoxo