Updated: Jan 29
We are beginning a new series discovering the theme of work and vocation in the Bible. Why should we consider this theme? Some of us may have yet to consider a biblical perspective on our vocation as Christians. Do the Scriptures have anything to teach us regarding our human vocation? For some, we may need to understand how our work is connected to our faith. So often, faith and our life are compartmentalized into two separate categories. Understanding God's design for work will help us connect our faith and life.
As a follower of Christ, every area of my life, including my work, needs to be rethought and reshaped by King Jesus. God created humans with a purpose, and discovering this purpose brings new depth and understanding to our work as Christians.
The Hope of Work
Why does work matter? Exploring this theme connects us to a story told throughout the Scriptures. Through this story, Christians can understand why we work and the hope we have through work. Without hope, we lose imagination and desire. We see our lives without direction, purpose, and we lack self-control. Connecting our lives with God's human vocation provides hope, meaning, and purpose.
A Fresh Look
As we read the creation account, we often bring up questions the biblical authors did not intend to answer. We often bring questions of creation and evolution from our modern context. We project back on the text our questions and are often prevented from seeing the author's intention. As we take a fresh look at the creation account, placing our conceptions of the text aside would be helpful. We should allow the wisdom of God to be shown through the biblical authors. Removing our expectations of what the text should say will enable us to see what the text is presenting.
Beginning on page one of our Bibles, we can make several observations about work. Considering God's creative character, we can see that God created with a purpose.
read: Genesis 1
Order From Wasteland
As we read the first words of the Scriptures, "In the beginning," we can understand that we are launching into an epic narrative. The Bible tells the story of God as it culminates through His Son, Jesus. Beginning this narrative, God brings order from a dark, chaotic wasteland.
Genesis 1:1–2 (NIV)
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."
The earth was "formless and empty." Our English words are translated from the Hebrew words תֹּהוּ tôhûw, which means a wasteland, and בֹּהוּ bôhûw, meaning ruin or void. Darkness was over the deep. From the beginning, the Scriptures picture an uninhabitable place, not where life can flourish. However, we are given hope and expectation as "the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."
Life and Flourishing
From the void wasteland, God brings order, life, and flourishing. From the darkness, He brings light (Gen. 1:3). Through the days of creation, God separates the chaotic waters (Gen. 1:6-8). He limits the waters and brings forward dry ground (Gen. 1:9-10). By God's word, the earth (or land) produces vegetation, seed-bearing plants, and trees (Gen. 1:11-13). God places lights in the sky to separate the day from the night and to serve as signs for days and years. The lights were to govern the day and night (Gen. 1:14-19). The waters and the earth are then populated with living creatures according to their kind (Gen. 1:20-25).
Through the creation narrative, God's creative character is shown in the diversity of His creation. We understand His creation was for a purpose. Through His creative work, life and flourishing abound in an otherwise uninhabitable place.
Study Guide: Renewed Vocation (session 1)
Scripture quotations: Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.