There’s a reason why Murphy has a law. Your work is not how God designed it and knowing why will help you go forward, that’s what this weeks message is all about.
Genesis 3:17–19 (NIV) 17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
Romans 8:22–23 (NIV) 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.
Eccles. 2:17–18, 22–23 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind. I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me. . . . What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.
Eccles 3:12–13 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
Luke 12:20 (NIV) 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
Proverbs 20:4 (NIV) Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing.
1 Thessalonians 4:11 (NIV) 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,
A look at Genesis 3 shows that as soon as Adam and Eve sinned against God, they experienced internal shame, guilt, and brokenness. They suffered the natural consequences of working against their design. David Atkinson writes: “Shame . . . is that sense of unease with yourself at the heart of your being.” We know there is something wrong with us, but we can’t admit it or identify it. There is a deep restlessness, which can take various forms—guilt and striving to prove ourselves, rebellion and the need to assert our independence, compliance and the need to please others. Something is wrong, and we may know the effects, but we fall short of understanding the true causes… Another manifestation of this deep unease includes a mistrust and fear of others. The awareness of a need for clothing in the biblical account (verse 7: “they . . . made coverings for themselves”) is much more than a new reticence about sex. There was a desire to retreat from what could be called an unself-protective mutuality. Adam and Eve each became desperate to control what the other knew, to hide and create facades to block the other’s gaze. This mistrust and fear quickly led to friction and anger, as it now does in all relationships. In his fascinating interview of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3, verses 10–13, God asks them what has happened. Adam completely avoids the real truth—that he has eaten of the tree—and only complains of his inner unhappiness and shame. – Timothy Keller
A Prayer for Our Work
Almighty God, by whose will we were created, and by whose providence we have been sustained, grant to us your blessing this day. You have given to each of us our work in life; Lord, enable us to diligently perform our respective duties. May we not waste our time in unprofitableness and idleness, nor be unfaithful to any trust committed to us. By Your grace strengthen each of us for the performance of duties before us.
- Questions for Reflection and Discussion: (Tom Nelson)
How have you experienced the brokenness of work in a fallen world?
How does recognizing the brokenness of work change the way you view your work/workplace?
Which distortion of work is most apparent in your workplace?
Which distortion of work do you most easily fall into?
Keller, T., & Alsdorf, K. L. (2016). Every good endeavor: connecting your work to Gods work. New York: Penguin Books.
Nelson, T. (2011). Work matters: connecting Sunday worship with Monday work. Wheaton, IL: Crossway.
Stackhouse, J. G. (2014). Need to know vocation as the heart of Christian epistemology. New York: Oxford University Press.
Witherington, B. (2011). Work: a Kingdom perspective on labor. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.