By David Cross
Perhaps it is a strange question, but a similar question could be asked about the opposite end of the timeline. Were Adam and Eve placed on earth to experience blissful sloth?
I’ve heard many times that work is a result of the Fall. To be sure, the Fall had an impact on work, so it seems that a logical conclusion is that the opposite of work should be heavenly utopia.
Fortunately for us, that is not the case. Before the Fall ever happened, God said to humankind, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it! Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that moves on the ground” (Genesis 1.28).
Then, when the story is retold with more detail in the next chapter we read, “The Lord God took the man and placed him in the orchard in Eden to care for it and to maintain it” (Genesis 2.15).
So, before sin was ever in the picture, Adam and Eve had the jobs to subdue, rule over, care for, and maintain the earth. Certainly, sin made it more difficult since “in painful toil” people would eat of the ground and it would produce “thorns and thistles” for humankind and “by the sweat of [Adam’s] brow [he] will eat food” (Genesis 3.17-19). I’m sure those were memory verses that Adam would have preferred to skip, but the fact is, work was part of the order that God intended for the world when he pronounced, “It was very good.” From the time of Creation, we have modeled what God himself did in Creation, namely, bringing something out of nothing, bringing order out of disorder.
Consider, then, a few more examples about the Lord’s attitude toward work. The first is that of Moses in Exodus 28.1-5, and the Lord’s commandment to make garments for Aaron and his sons, “You must make holy garments for your brother Aaron, for glory and for beauty. You are to speak to all who are specially skilled, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, so that they may make Aaron’s garments to set him apart to minister as my priest” (Exodus 28.2-3). From these words we can see that God was the one who specially gifted these artisans and equipped them through extensive craftsmanship to prepare garments for glory and for beauty.
Similarly, I’d like you to meet my friends who live on the corner of Exodus 36.1-7, “So Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person in whom the Lord has put skill and ability to know how to do all the work for the service of the sanctuary are to do the work according to all that the Lord has commanded.” Again, the Lord equipped these workers with excellence in their craft. These men are models of the Lord’s attitude toward work. They exhibit the Lord’s interest in excellence, not merely getting the job done. It is with that perspective on work that Solomon writes, “Do you see a person skilled in his work? He will take his position before kings; he will not take his position before obscure people” (Proverbs 22.29).
Perhaps Scripture’s structure isn’t as formal as apprentice to journeyman to master craftsman, but the biblical focus on the Intrinsic Value View of work is undeniable.
Part 2 in this series: Your work ethic demonstrates your faith epic.
This article is submitted by David Cross of Professionals Global. Professionals Global is a Missio Nexus member. Member organizations can provide content to the Missio Nexus website. See how by clicking here.