from John Spadafora,
Director of Church Connections
For Part 2 of this series, enjoy this article from Kevin Harlan, a speaker at the 2015 Pastors' Forum in Kansas City.
by Kevin Harlan
Senior Pastor of Congregational Development,
Christ Community Church, Leawood, Kan.
Where do we first read about work in the Bible? Our answer to this question has a profound impact on how we view work and how we help our congregation close the gap between Sunday and Monday.
Thank God It's Friday | Most people immediately jump to Genesis 3 when they think of work, and the horrible consequences of man's sinful act of rebellion in the garden. God looked at Adam and Eve's disobedience and told them things would now be different. It would not be as He intended.
"By the sweat of your face" was the way God described the work they would do. In other words, work will now be painful and toilsome. And it wouldn't take long before Adam and Eve first uttered the words, "Thank God it's Friday." (Okay, maybe that didn't really happen, but I'm guessing they thought it.)
When we view Genesis 3 as the starting point for the story of work, we can't help but think that work is something to be avoided or endured, not embraced and enjoyed.
Thank God It's Monday | When we jump past Genesis 1-2, we overlook the fact that in God's perfect creation, where life is just as He intended, we have work to do. Stop and consider: What was God's original design? What did the world look like without sin? What was our intended trajectory if man had not rebelled against God?
God tells us in Genesis 1 to be fruitful and multiply. Then He adds more texture to our job description in Genesis 2:18-19, calling us to "work and keep" His good creation. Get this: He wants us to add to the work He started and to preserve His original design!
We don't have an account of what Adam and Eve thought as they began to do the work God assigned them, but I think it's safe to say that they didn't roll out of bed on the first Monday of their lives and groan that they had to go to work.
Work existed before the curse, and God declared it "very good." If we recognize that the story of work starts in Genesis 1, it should change how we teach our congregations about the work they are engaged in. Yes, work has been made difficult and toilsome, but let's help our congregations understand that work is part of God's design. More specifically, their work can be fruitful and used by God to "work and keep" His good creation.
Hear Kevin Harlan's message from the Pastors' Forum in Kansas City. Watch the video.