Restoring the Biblical View of Labor (Part 1)

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Many in the Christian community believe serving the Lord only means being active in the congregation and that only pastors and “full time” ministers can truly serve the Lord. Many believers spend a significant part of their time at a workplace which they don’t consider service to the Lord. If spiritual life and ministry are only associated with attending church meetings and home groups, people will never become mature and able to follow the Lord on their own. 

We must reject this sort of Christian dualism, which separates “spiritual” from “worldly.” Such thinking distinguishes that work in the Church is spiritual and labor outside the Church is secular. This separation is rooted in Greek philosophy, so loved by many Church Fathers, but it is not in the Word of God. 

One of the breakthroughs that the Protestant Reformation gave to history was a creative motivation to influence the modern world. It gave labor a spiritual significance and value outside of the Church. 

The Bible explains a lot about God the Creator, His creation of man and our mandate on earth. 

In the Beginning was God! 

The first book of the Bible – Genesis – in Hebrew called Bereshit, is translated as “in the beginning.” Genesis is the book that explains how it all began. If we do not understand it or ignore it, we will not be able to understand the origins of the world. It is very important to see that God began all of creation! 

Genesis shows the nature and intentions of God for humankind and the Universe and reveals God as the Creator of both the material and spiritual worlds. 

From the first pages of the Bible, God as our loving Father explains who He is, who we are and what kind of world we were born into. God, who created the whole world long before we were born into it, invited man to be a co-worker. Every person in every generation is born into God’s story. That is why we are in such urgent need to understand who we are, what we live for, and what our place is in the world. 

Man was created in the image and likeness of God, as the crown of God’s creation. 

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  (Genesis 1:26-28)

Man was created as a result of God’s purposeful decision. God is Spirit, but on this earth, He wanted to have a representative in a physical body. Of all God’s creation, only man was honored to carry and reflect the image of God Himself. Man is not like any other creation, he is like his Creator! In the world created by God, being human means reflecting God in this Earth. 

Man was created to rule and have dominion over creation, to reign and subdue it on behalf of God. However, the dominion of people over God’s creation is not a tyranny, rather it is a means to care for the creation that God has entrusted us with. 

The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men. (Psalms 115:16)

It is very important to remember that Adam not only enjoyed a relationship with his Creator in the spirit: he also received the power to rule the earth. After God created man and woman, God blessed them and gave them the ability to be fruitful and multiply. God’s blessing also gives people the power to do what God calls them to do — to spread across the face of the earth, forming nations with diverse cultures. God has commanded people to prosper and reproduce.

This article is an excerpt from my book Influence. Responding to the Call of God.