The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. Genesis 2:15 ESV
It’s Monday! For most of us, this begins another week of the daily grind. Pressures to produce and strive and knock things off our list. Perhaps we yearn for retirement, or better yet heaven where we assume we will no longer work! However, this yearning is not based in Scriptural teaching. In reality, we were created to work, and one could even argue this call to work predates the call to marriage (technically, you could almost build a case God instituted marriage to enable better work…but I digress). Overall, in our spiritual formation, we must realize work is created by God and something to be embraced rather than escaped.
In light of this, what should work look like? Does it have to be dreaded? In this post, I’ll briefly explain God’s ideal for work, and in future posts we will unpack how to get there, and more importantly, what to do if our job doesn’t align with these two purposes. In the verse above, God placed the man in the garden to do two things: work it and keep it. This introduces our theology of work. In essence, we are called to do two things: produce, maximize, bring profit, etc. while at the same time protecting, maintaining and bringing restoration to our environment. It’s a beautiful balance. In all our work, we should strive to get ahead, while at the same time maintaining our work environment.
Farmers should work land to produce more crops (irrigate, fertilize, etc.) but never to the extent the ground is ruined. Crop rotation, years of rest, etc. are a necessary part of work. Business owners should seek the greatest profits possible, while simultaneously seeking to better their employees, their customers and their products. God calls us to a balancing act. We are to neither focus exclusively on profit or on protecting….instead, we focus on maximizing and maintaining, profit while protecting. In essence, ROI should mean both return on investment and retaining our integrity (both of which we pursue wholeheartedly).
It’s Monday! Work and keep whatever God has entrusted to you. Yes, it’s challenging, but He has called you and will enable you. Herein lies the call to spiritual formation in our work life.