Ephesians 6: 5-7 (NLT)
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
Romans 12: 1-2 (MSG)
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.
“It is estimated the average person will spend 150,000 hours at work in his or her lifetime. That translates to roughly 40 percent of our lives being spent at work. That’s a lot. As a result, our work, our jobs, and how we spend the majority of our time are very important to God.” (Rick Warren)
One church leader was sharing a story recently about being on a plane journey with a man who told him that his wife was a Christian but, although he went to church with her most weeks, he didn’t share her faith – at least not yet.
The church leader asked him what he thought when he attended church on a Sunday. He looked at him quizzically. ‘You really want to know? I often sit in church after a hard week at work handling all kinds of pressures and I sit there thinking, “This is completely irrelevant to my life. You simply haven’t got a clue about living in my world.”
This is a sad indictment of the church and totally misrepresents the intention of God when He created humanity. As the universe was shaped and fashioned, God delighted in his handiwork. Creation had a skilled sculptor as divine fingers shaped a universe of limitless wonders. Genesis records:
“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Gen 1: 31)
We are presented with the image of an artist working intensely on a canvas then standing back to take in the masterpiece with a feeling of immense satisfaction and achievement. God is by nature creative – He is a workman.
The Genesis account teaches that we are made in the image of God, after His likeness:
“Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’
So God created human beings
in his own image,
in the image of God
he created them;
male and female
he created them.” (Gen 1: 27)
As well as sharing something of God’s likeness, we are called to rule and reign – and work – within the creation that He has made. This is a high and a holy calling that should both humble and amaze us. As King David wrote:
“What are mere mortals that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
You made them a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned them with glory and honour.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet.” (Psalm 8: 4-6)
This is God’s world and He has entrusted us with the responsibility of being stewards of those things He has committed to our care. A steward is a guardian – someone looking after something that belongs to another. When we view the universe through that filter, everything takes on a different colour. We have a privileged position at the apex of God’s creation and it carries responsibilities. As Ian Coffey writes:
“Work matters hugely. Work is the primary activity God created us to pursue – in communion with him and in partnership with others. Indeed, one of work’s main goals is to make God’s world a better place for all God’s creatures to flourish in – to his glory.”