The Gift of Labor

“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” (Genesis 2:15)

When God first created man, He gave him work to do. Although “the LORD God planted a garden” for man (Genesis 2:8), it was up to man to take care of it if he would continue to eat its fruits. Thus, having to labor for one’s living is not a divine punishment for man’s sin as people sometimes interpret it, but rather a divine benefit for man’s good.

Similarly, even in the new earth, when sin and suffering will be gone forever, there will still be work to do. “There shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him” (Revelation 22:3).

We don’t know yet what our assignments will be there, but they will somehow be commensurate with our faithfulness in serving the Lord here. “My reward is with me,” says the Lord Jesus, “to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12).

It is, therefore, a God-given privilege to be able to do useful work, whether that work consists of preaching God’s Word or improving God’s world. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do” (whether being paid for it or not), “do it with thy might; for there is no work . . . in the grave, whither thou goest” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). As Jesus said, “The night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).

No matter what the job may be that has been provided for us to do, it is important to remember and obey the admonition: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24) and “your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). HMM


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