Our society idolizes leisure. It seems to vaguely recall that Jesus once told a story about the multitude that loafs and fishes. And it looks forward to heaven as the ultimate seven-day weekend. But idolized leisure must be a false God, for the true God is a “worker”.

We are introduced to him in Genesis 1, where we meet him in the context of his work week. When Jesus comes to make him known he tells us that “My Father is working until now, and I myself am working” (Jn 5:17). We, and all creation, are the work of his hands, so Cicero must have been wrong when he declared that “all craftsmen are vile by nature.”

Work is a crucial part of what we do in the image of God. And as God has stamped his image onto us we are to stamp our image on the world that he has given us to rule – to tame the wilderness and tap the resources that God has created to make things of beauty and value and usefulness. If we are doing it as God’s image bearers, that will all be to the glory of God and for the welfare of humanity. Work with our hands or work with our minds, all that we do from Monday to Friday – an expression of worship.

Labour, so long as it is in the Lord, is not in vain. And to make sure it really is “in the Lord” he has built the need for rest in the cycle. In fact that is where we start: man’s first day on planet earth was a day off, God’s seventh day. Which reminds us that our labour is dependent on what he has done; we can do nothing apart from him. Nonetheless it is by work that Adam, and we, are to fulfill our mandate to govern the earth as God’s vice regent.

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Or, you can listen to chapter 10 as audio files: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

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