Is a Job a Gift or a Curse?

On Mondays two weeks ago, we discussed ways to honor God through our professional success. APJ 1915 was that year. Two weeks later, we are once more discussing business in a more general sense. It comes from a listener by the name of Travis. “Good morning, Pastor John. Would you please let me know if today’s work is a blessing or a curse? Based on Genesis 3, a lot of our effort appears to be cursed. But according to Ecclesiastes, a large portion of our labor also appears to be a blessing from God. Is my nine-to-five job a blessing or a curse, according to the Bible?

Let’s begin with God’s work, which is the first work mentioned in the Bible. in Genesis 2:1–3,

God completed the job he had been doing on the seventh day, and he took the following day off from all of his previous labor. Because God rested on the seventh day from all the work he had done during creation, God blessed and declared it to be holy.

The point is obvious. God put in a lot of effort. Now, God was not cursed by effort. God is not afflicted, troubled, frustrated, or forced to act in a way that he does not want to. He engaged in the act of creation because it was a manifestation of his magnificence and abundance for him to overflow in the making of a universe that exalts his glory and a human representation of himself that can bask in and worship that splendor. That is a symbol of glory, not of fragility, hardship, or frustration. Work brought God honor.

Successful Work

The act of working was never a curse. It was a blessing and a gift fit for a god. Prior to the fall into sin, creativity was the essence of work as God intended it: creative, productive doing, arranging, and making. God created the earth as part of his initial task. That is the core of work, right there. Then he fashioned us in his image and placed us in the world he had created, saying,

Let them rule the livestock, the sea creatures, the birds of the skies, the entire planet, and every creeping thing that creeps on the planet… [Let them] fill the land and conquer it. (Genesis 1:26, 28)

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it,” Genesis 2:15 continues. Serve as the word’s literal meaning. “Serve it,” which means to labor on, maintain, and serve it, almost sounds like working in the Lord’s work.

Now, I assume that tending to and maintaining the garden before the fall was a part of God’s plan to have dominion over and subdue the earth. What does that therefore imply? It does not imply that the garden was flawed in the way that God designed it. It wasn’t flawed at all. It wasn’t something that needed fixing, as if God had done it wrong. “Oops! The garden needs help because I didn’t fix it properly. It indicates that when God created the garden for man, one of its many perfections was to give man the necessary tools to be as creative as God. Man would prosper while tending the garden, and the garden would prosper while being tended. It wouldn’t be difficult, burdensome, or pointless; it would be gorgeously satisfying. Work like that—exciting, fulfilling, and creative—is work before the fall.

A Cursed Job?

Now, when sin entered the earth through the fall (Genesis 3), it turned this magnificent reality of fulfilling work into something pointless, onerous, and frustrating. Genealogy 3:17–19

Adam, you will endure anguish throughout your entire life as you consume the thorns and thistles that the soil will produce for you. You will have to eat bread while wiping the sweat from your face until you hit the ground again.

Saying that work is a curse is untrue. It is correct to argue that work is a curse since it is pointless, frustrating, burdensome, and terrible. Romans 8:20–21 quotes Paul as saying, “The creation was subjected to futility.” God subjected creation to futility when sin entered the universe, “not voluntarily, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself would be set free from its slavery to [futility].” Therefore, work’s futility and burden are a component of creation’s curse, yet this situation won’t always exist. God temporarily placed the world under this punishment to demonstrate the extreme wickedness of sin, as he promised there was “a hope coming.”

God’s Handiwork

Christ, however, came to redeem the world from the curse, and this process takes place gradually rather than all at once. The same is true in the workplace. When you consider it, it is actually noteworthy that the gospel, or the good news of Jesus’s salvation, does not specify that you must work for it. It’s free; you can’t pay for it. That impossibly difficult, hopeless, and burdensome function in redemption is not allocated to work. This is excellent news.

Ephesians 2:8–10 states three points regarding the role that work has in our salvation.

You have been saved by grace through faith. And so that no one may boast, this is not your doing; it is a gift from God, [1] not the result of your own efforts. Because God prepared them beforehand for us to do, we are his [2] workmanship; we were made in the image of Christ Jesus [3], and we should walk in them.

This is wonderful. First of all, employment is not obligated to save us. We are saved by Christ via faith. Second, God intervenes and completes the task. He transforms us into new beings in Christ by taking all the necessary steps. We are his handiwork. Third, we were made for good deeds now that we have been loved, pardoned, accepted, and adopted. Back in the beginning, when we were initially created, we were made to exist as human beings for good work. That was our initial purpose when we became humans, and we have been renewed in Christ for useful activity.

Light Yokes for the Glory of God

It is not difficult to do this work in Christ. If we find it difficult, if we find following Jesus and serving Christ difficult, then either we are not thinking properly or we are not placing our full trust in Christ. Read Matthew 11:28–30 carefully. The paradox of the work that Christ has given us to accomplish is this. We work as diligently as yoked oxen on the one hand, while our task is as light as a feather on the other. What Jesus says is as follows: “Come to me, all you who toil and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke, but hold on, you just said to relax. Why is there a yoke? It’s difficult to use a yoke on oxen to pull a plow. You will find rest for your spirits if you take my yoke upon you and learn from me because I am kind and humble in heart. Because my weight is light and my yoke is gentle.

Yes, as we follow Christ, there is important work to be done. That is what yoke means. We must wear a yoke. We are not expelled in order to be idlers. What a bore that would be. However, there is a restfulness of spirit that is unaffected by the curse in that task and that yoke. In all of our activity, the key that transforms it from a curse to a blessing and the key that makes it exalt Christ is outlined in 1 Peter 4:11: Let’s merely say, “Let the one who works,” “[work] by the strength that God supplies” so that God may be exalted through Jesus Christ in everything. The honor belongs to the one who provides the strength. We get the assistance, he gets the credit, and work is freed from its oppressive curse.

In 1 Corinthians 15:10, it is said once more, “By the grace of God, I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. Instead, I put in more effort than any of the other apostles, yet it wasn’t really me; it was God’s grace that was working through me. That, like it was before the fall, is the beauty of labor in the Christian life. I have no doubt that Adam had great pleasure in spending a long day in the garden, perfecting it to suit his purposes and seeing it blossom under his labor. The phrase “Not I, but the grace of God with me” removes the pain of weightiness and futility.

Anything You Do
When Paul urges Christians to work hard, he is not urging them to live burdened, unhappy, or cursed lives. He is urging us to live in our delight and glory. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be constant, immovable, and continually abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain (First Corinthians 15:58). I assume this means doing a lot of stuff. It is not useless. That holds true for every work, not only church work, that is carried out in Jesus’ name, for His honor, and in trust upon His might.

In fact, Paul instructs Colossians 3:23–24 readers to “work cheerfully at whatever [this is a key phrase] you do, as for the Lord and not for mankind, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You serve the Lord Jesus Christ. As a result, all of our work — not only church work — is raised to the status of worship. It is not merely human activity if we perform it in the Lord’s name, relying on the Lord, and for the Lord’s honor. It elevates Christ.

I’ll tell it one more. We were created for a purpose from the beginning: to shape, create, and subdue the world in accordance with God’s wisdom, goodness, and beauty. This was not a curse, and it is not a curse now. It will, in my opinion, continue happily forever.