February 4, 2016

The Gift of Work

Written by Boyd Bailey

The Gift of Work 2.4

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – February 4, 2016

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Genesis 2:15

Recently, the United States saw one of the largest jackpots in lottery history. A married couple from a small town in Tennessee found themselves the overnight winners of more than half a billion dollars. As you can imagine, reporters flocked to this couple’s doorstep to hear the countless ways the family would spend the money and indulge. Would they see the world? Move into a mansion? Buy a fleet of luxury cars? No, no, and no. Their plan was to simply return to work on Monday morning!

This story surprises us, because by and large, our culture views work as a necessary evil, something to be avoided if at all possible.

In the Genesis story, I’m always struck by the fact that the command to work and care for the earth comes before the fall of mankind. Rather than viewing it as the result of sin and brokenness, our vocation to steward creation must be seen as a central aspect of what it means to be human beings made in God’s image. As it says elsewhere in Genesis, we are to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it (Gen. 1:28).”

Genesis paints a picture of life lived in perfect harmony with the will of God. It is a picture that places Him at the center of our lives, the source of purpose, identity, and meaning. And in this vision, we aren’t simply encouraged to seek leisure and personal fulfillment. We are invited to work, to join him in the sharing of his blessing with the whole of creation.

In light of this, we must be slow to associate “work” exclusively with the source of our paycheck. Our view of work should be far more inclusive! We must view “work” as all the ways that we actively live life for the sake of others and the glory of God.

This can (and should) happen within our source of employment, but it is also found in the ways we sacrifice our comfort for the needs of our family. It’s found in our love and care for a neighbor in need. And it’s found whenever we use our gifts and talents in the service of God’s kingdom purposes. As Paul reminds us,  whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Col. 3:23).

Prayer: Father, thank you for the gift of work. May we work faithfully and fruitfully, staying ever mindful of the needs of others and the service of your Kingdom.

Application: How can you apply this kingdom-minded view of work to your own vocation?

Related Readings: Psalm 90:17; Proverbs 16:3; Ephesians 6:7-8; Philippians 4:13

Post/Tweet this today: Our work includes all the ways that we actively live life for the sake of others and for the glory of God. #WisdomHunters #giftofwork

Worship Resource: 6 minute video –Bethel: Highest Praise

Check out Boyd’s newest devotional book Two Minutes in the Bible for Men. Order now!

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  1. Vivian Brown says:

    We recently moved to another state and I am currently unemployed.
    Today’s devotional was just what I needed as I have been feeling guilty for not working as an “employer” even though I am definitely working-have an 86 y.o. mother w/ Alzheimer’s disease that I am overseeing all of her affairs.
    Thank you again for today’s devotional.

  2. Gwynne says:

    Dear Vivian,
    Gracious, do not think for a minute you are not working. You are doing one of the hardest (and most important)jobs I know about with the care and stewardship of your mom and her affairs. I am so thankful you were blessed by “The Gift of Work” and God touched your heart through the words.
    I hope you are taking care of yourself as you are taking care of others.
    Vivian, we have a prayer ministry and would be happy to pray for you and your mom. If you would like to send me your prayer requests, email me gwynne@wisdomhunters.com
    In “The Gift of Wok”, Boyd stated “We must view ‘work’ as all ways that we actively live life for the sake of others and the glory of God”. Vivian, thank you for living this example and shining His Light!
    We are grateful for you and look forward to hearing from you again.
    “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” Hebrews 6:10

    “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money,
    but eager to serve, not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” 1 Peter 5:2-4

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