You likely do this every day: glance out the window to see what the weather is like. It is a good way to preview what may be in store for your day. In a moment, you can obtain all the information you need to get on with your day and get back to your routine.
Sometimes what we see during this daily occurrence can catch us off guard. Perhaps it is a magnificent glowing sunrise or a mass of thousands of migrating starlings flying over your home. It could be a single flower blooming, or a squirrel doing something wholly unexpected.
Usually such scenes catch our attentions for a short time—perhaps we even briefly thank God for creating them—then we return to what we were doing.
But there is an important message in the beauty of nature: everything in it took work to create. Mountain ranges, streams, rivers, sprawling rainforests, every type of bird, animal, insect—even microorganisms not visible to the human eye—were carefully thought out and created.
This principle does not stop with Creation. Everything that surrounds us is the product of design and work including tables, chairs, clothes, houses and vehicles. We use these every day, but how often do we stop to consider what it took to make them?
Another example of this is The Pillar of the Truth magazine you are holding right now.
Even before the publication’s content was selected, many hours of labor were already spent on it.
Someone had to cut down trees. Someone had to transport those trees to a paper mill. The complex milling process included soaking the logs in a tumbler to remove the bark. The wood was then pulped, bleached, refined and formed into long rolls of paper. The rolls were sent to a paper production facility that cut and packaged the sheets. Then that paper had to be transported to the Print Services Department of The Restored Church of God. Ink also had to be manufactured and delivered.
Before someone could press the button to print, writers, editors and designers had to produce the words and pictures you see.
The point? It all took work.
Yet this understanding should cause you to never look at anything the same way. Everything around you—everything!—was created by someone’s labor.
Why is this the case? Why would God design life this way? Why does everything revolve around work?
The answers will inspire you.
From the Start
Throughout the opening pages of the Bible, the importance of work is emphasized. The first sentence states, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). This is a fascinating and instructive look into the life of God—He creates.
As with anything else, creating takes work!
On the sixth day of the Creation week, God made the first human beings, Adam and Eve. Verse 27 states that mankind was created “in His own image, in the image of God…” The term “image” means resemblance and likeness.
This means we not only resemble God in appearance, but we were also designed to behave like Him. Put another way, the Creator is a worker and we were designed to work.
This is exactly what God instructed the first humans to do: “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Gen. 2:15).
The word “dress” means to “work” while the word “keep” means to “protect.” Anyone who has ever grown a garden understands exactly what God was instructing Adam to do: till the soil, place seeds and seedlings into the ground, water, and eventually harvest the crops. All of this requires effort or work.
Through Adam’s example, God established an important type, or pattern.
God never wanted man to forget the importance of work. Because of this, He put a command to be active and productive in the Ten Commandments. Did you realize this?
Most do not recognize that the Fourth Commandment is two-fold. It does state to “remember the Sabbath day,” but there is another element at play. Notice how it is explained in Exodus 34: “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest…” (vs. 21).
There are two instructions here: You shall work for six days and then you shall rest on the seventh.
To further emphasize the point, the Bible continuously touts the benefits of being active and productive. It also warns of the dangers of idleness.
- “The soul of the sluggard [one who is lazy and idle] desires, and has nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat [prosperous]” (Prov. 13:4). Those who are focused on working and accomplishing in their lives will be blessed in a multitude of ways.
- “The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing” (20:4).
- “The desire of the slothful kills him; for his hands refuse to labor” (21:25).
Science supports that humans were designed to work. In a study that compiled research demonstrating the harmful effects of idleness on mental and physical health, Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) found that those who had a physical malady were speeded in recovery by returning to work: “People with muscle and joint pain who…return to work tend to enjoy better health (level of pain, function and quality of life) than those who stay off work.”
The organization stated that if “their health condition permits, people who are sick and disabled should remain in or return to work as soon as possible because it’s therapeutic, helps to promote recovery and rehabilitation, and reduces the risk of long-term incapacity.”
Additionally, the NHS found that “being out of work for long periods was generally bad for your health.”
Some of the adverse effects of joblessness they detailed were “higher use of medication and higher hospital admission rates,” “a two-to-three times increased risk of poor general health,” “a two-to-three times increased risk of mental health problems,” and “a 20% higher death rate.”
Science proves Proverbs 21:25—the “desire of the slothful” does kill!
Examples for Us
Throughout the Bible, God’s servants obeyed His command to work. Think of Moses, Samuel, Joshua, David, even Christ—they all worked until the end of their lives. We should follow their examples.
Moses in particular evidenced the clear health benefits of working and being active, even into old age: “And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated” (Deut. 34:7).
At the end of Moses’ life, he still had health and vigor. While God certainly blessed him, these are the same benefits modern science has discovered for those who are and remain active.
Take note: all of God’s servants in the past never stopped working while they were alive. They retired “into the grave.”
In what manner did these servants work? They would have followed the principle of Ecclesiastes 9: “Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might…” (vs. 10).
Of course, there are qualifiers in the command to work. If one is unable to work because of his physical circumstances, God understands. Yet everyone needs to work to the degree he or she is able.
There are different types of work—and not all of them lead to a paycheck. Anything that fruitfully engages your mind and body can be considered work. Even on days off you can work at hobbies or help Church members in need.
The overall point is to avoid idleness.
And just because you may be older does not mean you should stop working. There is always something you can do. The advantage of being physically older is that one has increased knowledge and experience.
This wonderful byproduct of a long life can be used in many ways. We are creative beings with God’s Spirit to aid us. That is a powerful one-two punch.
Ask yourself: “What can I do to continue to be productive—benefiting myself, others around me, and the Work of God—which I was called to be a part of and support? What can I do to be another living example like those in the Bible?”
God promises to daily load us with benefits if we obey Him (Psa. 68:19).
Work not only has physical benefits, but also an abundance of spiritual ones.
An overarching value in labor is that it allows us to put God’s Way into practice. Through work, we can produce the fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. By being active, earning a living, and helping others, we can grow in “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.”
For example, while working, you will have many opportunities to practice outgoing concern for others. You will also have the chance to bring joy and peace to tense situations. You can learn longsuffering and patience as you take on and complete difficult projects. The list of benefits could go on.
Staying at home wasting away hours stunts such growth!
An additional benefit to spiritual growth is that you can learn stewardship. The parable of the talents in Matthew 25 and the parable of the pounds in Luke 19 show that if we are faithful in small things in our lives—such as handling money earned from our labor—we will be given much greater responsibility later. We will actually qualify to oversee entire cities in God’s kingdom (Luke 19:17, 19) by learning to be a “steward of God” now (Titus 1:7).
This opportunity to learn how to be stewards is so important that we will have to give account as to how well we performed. This is also seen in the parable of the rich man and the steward. The rich man required results: “Give an account of your stewardship…” (Luke 16:2).
Learning stewardship has lasting implications!
If there is still any doubt that God requires people to work, one only needs to look to what His main focus is today: His Work.
Christ put it simply in John 5:17. He stated, “My Father works…and I work.”
The Work of God has two assignments, known as commissions: to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God in all nations and feed the flock of God. You can support this effort through tithes and offerings that come from employment income or through fundraising.
There is another element to how God is working. Notice: “Being confident of this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).
God is working in you! And He will continue to do so until Christ’s Second Coming. We can work alongside Him and help in the process, or we can make it much harder by being stubborn and resisting growth.
When we undertake any task—physical or spiritual—we should follow a defining principle: “And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for you serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:23-24).
All work that we do should be done as if God is our employer. This is vital to understand. Our inheritance is riding on it!
The following describes our reward in more detail and should further motivate us. Notice: “…What is man, that You are mindful of him? Or the son of man, that You visit him? You made him a little lower than the angels; You crowned him with glory and honor, and did set him over the works of Your hands: You have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him…” (Heb. 2:6-8).
Understand what these astounding verses are saying. God promises to put “all things” under the feet of man! The Moffatt translation of the Bible renders the Greek word for “all things” as “the universe.”
God desires for us to work now—our entire lives—so we are prepared to assist Him in His plan for the universe.
Can you see the awesome future that lies ahead? The life God is planning for each of us will not be burdensome. On the contrary, the Creator describes eternity as “pleasures for evermore” (Psa. 16:11).
We will be involved in exciting, challenging and stimulating endeavors “for evermore”—without suffering the limitations of physical humanity! We will never get tired or bored, always enjoying our past accomplishments and looking ahead to future projects. There is so much exciting and challenging work to do!
God desires for you to love to work now so you can become like Him. All those who are born into the God Family will be creators—workers—continuing to build the universe. We must be enthusiastic about working.
We cannot allow our human nature to fool us into thinking we should not work or that we should stop working if we already are. God wants us to become like Him.
From here on, determine to look at work differently—realize its vital importance.
Will you do your part?
Work truly is a gift from our God. Take advantage of this awesome truth that so few in the course of human history have understood. Prepare now for your awesome—and busy—future by developing a strong work ethic. Your incredible career as a creator in the God Family lies before you.
Let’s get to work!