Have you ever wondered where WORK comes from? It’s the thing that you give the majority of your life to…but have you ever wondered WHY? Have you ever ached for a greater purpose to your work? Could it be that the longing for Purpose actually comes from God?
First Day On The Job
In Genesis 2, God gives us a glimpse into who He is and who we are meant to be by including one often overlooked detail in Adam’s short-lived residency in the garden. Genesis 2:15, 19–20 point out that,
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.…Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
Shortly after God rested from the work of Creation, He puts Adam to work. God immediately gives Adam purpose: not just something to do, but something to give himself to.God: “Adam, I have a job for you. It’s called ‘gardening.’”Adam: “What’s a garden?”God: “You’re living in one.”Adam: “Right … what’s gardening?”God: “It’s taking care of where you live. I make it; you take care of it. Sound good?”Adam: “Sure. Anything else?”God: “Actually, yes. When you’re done gardening, I’m going to need you to do a little sorting and labeling … of every species or every animal in the world.”
Adam is not only the first human being, but also the first employee. God didn’t have to give Adam anything to do. I mean, the guy was just a pile of dirt a couple days before. Let’s take this one step at a time … literally: Adam should learn how to walk before he rakes, but instead God gives Adam purpose. God invites Adam to participate in creation, to work with Him in the care of the earth. And then there’s the naming of the animals. Best job ever!God: “Adam, what about this one? It’s got a long tail and loves to run fast.”Adam: “A horse?”God: “Good. How about this one? It’s white, loves to fly, a real peaceful thing.”Adam: “A glove? No, wait … dove!”God: “I like it. How about this one? I’ll be honest—it’s not my best work. It’s temperamental, self-absorbed, hard to handle. And honestly, kind of annoying.”Adam: “A cat?”God: “Perfect!”
Adam had purpose. He worked. But more than that, he worked WITH God. He worked in partnership with his Creator in creation – because God is a God at work, as we see in the creation account earlier in Genesis 2:
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (vv. 2–3)
A God At Work
God is teaching us that there is work to be done, and when it’s done, there is rest to be had. And the truth about God is that He continues to work to this very day. He has yet to start pulling from His retirement. He wasn’t just contracted out for creation; He is still at work today. God was at work this morning when the sun rose and this evening when it set. God is at work as the seasons change. God is at work when snow falls in the Midwest—and then keeps falling—and then doesn’t go away for six months. God is still at work in our tiny little planet, and He is still at work in sustaining the entire universe. God is a God who works. He is a God who takes great pleasure and has great purpose in His work … and you and I are created to join in with Him.
Working With God
You and I were created by God to work. But more than that, we were created by God to enjoy our work by working with Him. That’s what gives work purpose—when I work with and for God, regardless of what it is. Whatever it is that you do, you can do it with the God who created you and created you to do it! Adam worked because God works. We work because it’s a part of who we are in God.
Your life is meant to have purpose.And in God it actually does.