God’s Call in the Person (Romans 11:29), involves Work (Secular or Sacred), Service (Ministry) and Life – Romans 11:29“For God’s Gifts and His Call are irrevocable” (NIV). God’s Calling is the demonstration of His Love and Initiative, but more, it is through Service (Ministry) that we come to an appreciation God, better.
1.1 Theology of Work
Genesis 2:15 “And the LORD God took the man (Adam) and put him into the Garden of Eden to till it and to keep it” (KJV). This involved Man’s (Adam’s) Calling (Vocation). Adam was created to work, and his work was meaningful. From the beginning it was God’s Plan that Adam worked and be a responsible Steward of God’s Creation. Adam and his Descendants, with their privileges and responsibilities were to live and move in Kingly Fashion.
- The word “dress” (till) from a root meaning to serve.
- The word “keep” means “to look after or to have charge of.”
Adam’s responsibility was in fulfilment of a need described in Genesis 2:5b “There was not a man to till the ground” (KJV).
God intended that work is good, noble, and excellent and is the reflection of a Partnership with God in the care of His (God’s) Creation. Thus, work is important, significant, and valued by God – 2Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”
With Fall of Adam & Eve, and the entrance of Sin, work became “toilsome” – Genesis 3:17-19 “And unto Adam He said, because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistle shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground, for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (KJV).
We must never confuse work with toil or denigrate (belittle) the joy and privilege of work just because it involves toil; we must strive together for the recovery of the meaningful and joyful work.
Unfortunately, we have been deeply influenced by the strange notion that work is bad and should be avoided. God’s Word exhorts that the Person who is too lazy to work should not be supported – 2Thessalonians 3:10b “If any would not work, neither shall he eat” (KJV).
More Work – Our diligent and faithful in “small things” will be rewarded with “more work:”
- Luke 12:48b “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (KJV).
- Matthew 25:29 “For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath” (KJV).
Work is one of the central expressions in our life as Christians, and to do well and efficiently is one of the critical aspects of our spiritual maturity – Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are Serving” (NIV).
Deep within the psyche of People of many cultures and societies is the notion that all which is manual is menial. People are inclined to think that work that done with our hands is less important, significant, or valuable than work that can be described as being done with the mind, such as managing, writing, speaking or teaching, which are important, nevertheless, basically, in the Body of Christ, there are two broad groupings of spiritual gifts:
- There is the “speaking gift” – Speaking forth the “Oracles” (“Burdens”) of God – should be “God’s Word” based – 1Peter 4:11a (KJV) “If any man speaks, let him speak as the Oracles (Logia = Divine Utterances, used in the Classical) of God.”
- There is the “serving gift” – the Person who works “behind the scenes” – helping to make the Public Ministry possible – 1Peter 4:11b (KJV) “If any man minister (serve), let him do it as of the ability which God giveth.”
Both, “the speaking gift” and “the serving gifts” are important to the Body of Christ because not everybody are Teachers or Preachers, which tends to get the “lime-light and recognition” but there are those “behind-the-scenes” service ministry in seeing that the physical aspects of the Church are in place and properly functioning. Hardly anyone ever sees the work that they do. In fact, if they do their job properly, few People even think about it; their work is taken for granted by most of the Members of the Congregation. Furthermore, in Scripture we are encouraged to work with our hands, and consistently those who are masters of a craft are celebrated, such as those who designed and created the Old Testament Tabernacle, Bezalel, a Craftsman is the first person in Scripture who is said to be filled with the Spirit (Exodus 35:30-35).
Also, the Woman of Proverbs 31 is praised as one who worked with her hands. There is probably a measured of truth in the suggestion that only as we learn to work with our hands, mastering a craft as a means of employment or as a form of recreation, are we truly integrated with our bodies – when we live entirely in our heads we may miss out on a major dimension of life.
Sabbath Rest – Genesis 2:2b-3 “On the Seventh day, God rested from all His work. And God blessed the Seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all His work of creating that He had done” (NIV). The weekly Sabbath rest is instituted, not for God because God does not need to rest, but for us. The biblical theology of work also includes the explicit call for weekly Sabbath Rest, when we set our work aside and take time for worship, fellowship, leisure, and recreation, because we are not merely Workers; we are God’s Children. Our work is never the primary expression of our identity, and through the weekly Sabbath Rest we re-establish our identity in God and in His love, acceptance, and grace toward us (Exodus 31:13-17). We violate the meaning of work when all we do is work, when we lose a rhythm and routine of work and play, work and prayer, work, and Sabbath Rest.
To be continued….. Stay Tuned