God created work for a reason.
In his power, he can easily accomplish everything that ever needs to get done. But in his wisdom, he gives us some of this work to do: work that not only affects the world around us but spiritually changes us as workers.
God gets more glory when he works through sinful, fallen human beings. Work is also a tool that he uses to stretch us, challenge us, and conform us into the image of Christ.
But there’s an often overlooked reason for work. A reason we need to remember on those rough days of aching backs, headaches, and exhaustion.
One of the benefits of work is the joy we experience when we participate in what the Father is doing.
Working Through Us
Now don’t get me wrong: when the fall came, work was cursed. So it’s far from a constantly enjoyable and fun experience.
But work was in place before the fall. God gave us dominion over the Earth – and this meant we were given the privilege of participating with him in ruling over the Earth. On the new Earth, we will also be given the responsibility and joy of ruling.
This isn’t just about the perfection of Eden or heaven. We can have joy right now when we participate with God in his work.
God accomplishes his plan of redemption through humans. He has chosen to take the gospel to the nations by giving the Great Commission to his followers. We are the ones who are tasked with equipping the saints. We are the ones who are supposed to take care of the needy at home and abroad.
Remembering the Joy
Sometimes, though, we can look at this as a burden and not a privilege. We emphasize serving God so much that sometimes we can think of God as an aloof recipient of our action. We can think of him as a harsh king relaxing on a throne while his underlings sweat out in the fields.
But God is the one who is ultimately doing the work through us – and it is our joy to work alongside him in changing the world.
It’s more like my son, Gideon, who loves to help Mommy take the silverware out of the dishwasher. He hears the sound of the dishwasher opening and comes running. To participate in doing something helpful with the person he loves most – it’s an absolute joy for him. And although it takes ten times as long to take the silverware out, my wife also finds joy in him participating.
But here’s the really great thing. In God’s work, we aren’t just doing menial things like taking silverware out of the dishwasher. We don’t receive joy only because we’re working with the Father (although that would be more than enough for us) – we receive joy because we’re participating in things that matter for eternity.
God isn’t delegating us the unimportant tasks while he handles the big stuff – he’s given us some of the most important responsibilities in the entire world.
This should be incredible motivation for us. What an incredible joy this is!
I want to wake up every day, jumping out of bed in order to start participating with the Father in his work. I want to love working with him so much that any other vain pursuits seem so boring by comparison.
Sometime in the next few days, pause for a moment. Say a prayer of thanks for the privilege of working with God.
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