COLUMN: Celebrating our place in God’s creation at work

Published 5:35 pm Monday, September 11, 2023

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Restaurants and streets are full again! Children are donning their new outfits and backpacks to return to the classroom. The signs are all around us that summer is quickly coming to an end. We hear all around us “It’s time to go back to work.” It doesn’t matter if those words are heard after a summer vacation or at the beginning of the day they’re usually not received well. Work! Ugh!

But work is a gift from a loving God that is meant to be a blessing. After God created Adam and Eve we read “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15) We were created to work by taking care of the world that God gave us. Farmers bring forth crops from the earth to feed us. Teachers help us understand the world that God gave us. Police Officers help us live together in a way that is safe for everyone. God has given each of us gifts so that we can bless His creation. The world is better when we work.

But work can be tough. There’s a reason that we call it a toil, a drudge, a grind and a sweat. When Adam and Eve sinned against God, death entered into the world and impacted everything including work. Listen as God describes our work in Genesis 3:17-19. “Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you . . . By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread.” (Genesis 3:17-19) Whether you’re planting a garden or baking bread it’s difficult. God even tells us why. “Cursed is the ground because of you.” Work is difficult because I’m a broken, sinful person working in the midst of broken, sinful people.

Enter Jesus. He came to work. His work took him to the cross where he died for our sins so that we can start over every day with a clean heart. So that just as we have been blessed by Jesus’ work we can bless others by our work. As we do that something fantastic happens. In Matthew 25:34-35 Jesus says, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink . . .” As we work to care for our neighbors in need we serve the Son of God and we are blessed by his presence just as Adam and Eve were blessed to walk with God in the cool of the day. In our work we bless others and we are blessed and we find a sense of purpose and fulfillment in taking our place in God’s creation.

REV. MATTHEW SORENSON is the pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Farmville. He can be reached at