God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1:27-28 (NIV)
In Genesis, after God made the earth and mankind, he hands over his masterpiece to Adam and Eve and requests that they not only create, but that they also subdue their lineage and oversee and govern the world around them. This is God’s first call-to-action for mankind–fill the earth and subdue it. Ever since then, humans (whether they know it or not) have endeavored to complete this divine CTA.
Over the years of being a business owner, I have watched this innate desire take shape in all levels of work in my office and out at our various construction sites. There is a deep human desire to be creative and assertive. There is a great need to rearrange the raw material of God’s creation in such a way that it helps the world in general, and people in particular, thrive and flourish.
As Timothy Keller, in this summer’s reading selection, Every Good Endeavor, states, “Farming takes the physical material of soil and seed and produces food. Music takes the physics of sound and rearranges it into something beautiful and thrilling that brings meaning to life. When we take fabric and make a piece of clothing, when we push a broom and clean up a room… when we take simple materials and turn them into a poignant work of art–we are continuing God’s work of forming, filling, and subduing.” We are doing God’s work.
My wife loves to garden. I have to admit, it’s not my cup of tea. But, over the years, I’ve enjoyed watching her grind up the earth, cultivate the ground, take little seedlings and plant, water, and nurture them into tomatoes, zucchini, squash, lettuces, peas, and beans. I get to watch her create a garden out of a barren landscape and then I get to enjoy the fruits of her labor. In her small way she is doing the great work of God. She is being fruitful by subduing God’s gifts. She is being creative.
That is what all work is–bringing order out of chaos. Keller explains it this way, “Whether splicing a gene or doing brain surgery or collecting rubbish or painting a picture, our work further develops, maintains, or repairs the fabric of the world.”
I love this. When we know that all work can fall under God’s divine call to action, whether it be delivering a sermon at the pulpit or teaching children how to spell, we can infuse new vision and meaning into everything we do. We can connect our work to God’s work each day and that truly makes going to work a worthwhile endeavor.