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Made to Work

"Work!?!?" This was the terrified response of Maynard G. Krebs to the mere mention of that four-letter word. Maynard was a character on a 1960's television program, and his near-allergic reaction to the thought of work is not too far from reality for many people in our society today.

However, work is as natural and as old as life itself. From the beginning, God created man to work. In Genesis 1:28, God blessed man and woman and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." This was a massive undertaking, and it required considerable effort by man. Furthermore, "the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it" (Gen. 2:15; see also v. 5). Thus, there has never been a time in man's existence when he had no work to do.

Of course, man's work has changed since the beginning. When man sinned, the ground was cursed and his work became difficult. Notice Genesis 3:17-19:

Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it'; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

Ever since the curse, man has longed for relief from the difficulty of his toil (Gen. 5:29). In Ecclesiastes 2:23, the Scripture says, "Because all his days his task is painful and grievous; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is vanity."

Despite the curse and the difficulty of work, work itself is a blessing and not a curse. Work is the way God has ordained for man to achieve profit, so it is a natural channel to God's providential blessings. Consider a few messages from the Scriptures to this point:

  • Psalm 128:2 -- When you shall eat of    the fruit of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well with you.
  • Proverbs 14:23 -- In all labor there    is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.
  • Ecclesiastes 5:12 -- The sleep of    the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much; but the full    stomach of the rich man does not allow him to sleep.

Work is a part of life that God intends for man to enjoy. Solomon wrote, "Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one's labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward" (Eccl. 5:18; see also 9:9).

Those who refuse to work or are lazy in their labors stand in opposition to God's will for them. We are told to "make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you" (1Thess. 4:11). The Scriptures are replete with warnings to those who are lazy, and the penalties of poverty, starvation, and loss are severe (Prov. 6:9-11; Matt. 25:26-30). The decree of God is clear: "If anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either" (2Thess. 3:10). The godly alternative is likewise clear: "Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread" (2Thess. 3:12).

Therefore, let us resolve to be diligent in our labors and productive according to the will of God. Working in this way will not only lead to temporal blessings for us, but it will enable us to bless others as well. The apostle Paul said, "In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive'" (Acts 20:35). Similarly, Ephesians 4:28 says, "He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need." Yes, work is a good thing for every man, including the Maynard G. Krebs of this world who are afraid of it. It is what God made us to do while on this earth.

Stacey E. Durham



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