February 04, 2016

Because of Sin, Work Becomes Selfish

Genesis 11:1-9

Come, let us . . . make a name for ourselves. . . .

—  Genesis 11:4

Why are you working? For some, work brings the allure of recognition or fame. We close the sale, run for office, or excel in sports, craving recognition and importance. Somewhere along the line, we began to hope that our accomplishments would give us a sense of significance and value. But things rarely work out that way.

The people of Shinar were hard-working and innovative. In the spirit of God’s mission of work, they improved the technology of the day, allowing them to bake bricks that were more durable, and to use tar that formed a more effective bond between the bricks. As a result, the possibility for developing creation increased.  Sadly, rather than using this technology for God’s glory, they worked to establish their own reputation in the world. Work turned into a pursuit of self-centered glory. God was not pleased. He visited their construction site and frustrated their self-centered plans.

Why are you working? The apostle Paul advises, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). This is not only good advice; it is the pattern of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who glorified his Father, even at great personal cost. Let’s strive to do our work for God’s glory instead of our own.

Lord Jesus, you showed us the true cost and the true beauty of working for the glory of your heavenly Father. May we aim to glorify you in all our work. Amen.

About the author — Rob Toornstra

Rob Toornstra has served as pastor of Sunnyslope Christian Reformed Church in Salem, Oregon, since 2006. When not busy with pastoral duties, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Amy, and their three children.

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