November 05, 2010

Toilsome Labor

Genesis 3:1-19

“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.”
Genesis 3:17


“Nobody ever said it was going to be easy.” You have probably heard this old saying, and it is usually right.

Work is hard. It wasn’t that way at first, but that is what it has become. When God gave Adam and Eve their job to take care of his creation, he wanted them to use their abilities well, and thus to find great fulfillment as re-creators.

But it is no longer possible to do that without hardship and conflict. Now, when we exert ourselves, the creation exerts itself against us. We plant grass seed, and the earth throws back weeds. We build a house, and the earth throws harsh weather and decay at it. Our work is not as it should be. Because of sin, we are at odds with creation.

For the poor, work can be grinding daily labor that allows them only to eat and then work again the next day. Many people barely eek out a living by cutting sugarcane, working in sweatshops, or scavenging through garbage heaps. They find little or no fulfillment in their daily work. None of their labor is easy, fulfilling, or creative.

Even though God created us to enjoy our work in his world, many people labor without joy. But God blesses faithful work, even when difficult. Are there ways you can help your neighbor find joy in working in God’s world?

Comfort and strengthen those who struggle with their work today, Lord. Give them fulfilling and creative work. And help us to find ways to help, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

About the author — Kent Van Til

Kent Van Til was a missionary in Costa Rica. He taught theological ethics both there and in the USA. He is the author of four books. The most recent is a spiritual biography of his grandmother entitled, "A Name for Herself: A Dutch Immigrant's Story." Kent likes to fish, hunt, make music, and entertain his grandchildren.

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