Your work is an essential part of what it means to be created in God’s image.
You’ve probably heard the proverb about giving a man a fish versus teaching a man to fish. We all understand the value of a person working. But why is it so important for people to work? Is it simply because a vibrant workforce is good for society? The economy works better for me if you have a job? Or is there something more inherent about work that compels us all to want to do good, beneficial work?
In the opening words of the Bible we see God doing work. The creation poem of Genesis 1 is an ode to the work of God. We see God laboring as he brings everything into being. In the very beginning, God worked. God is not like the early pagan deities who were personified as lazy; lounging around in the heavenly realm all day. The God of Genesis 1-2 is a working God.
As the Creation poem nears its climax, God says, “Let us make humanity in our image to resemble us so that they may take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and all the crawling things on earth.” (v. 26)
Humanity bears the image of God. What is this image? What is the purpose for which God creates the man and woman? In order for them to “take charge” of all Creation. Humanity, like the One in whose image we are created, is designed to be workers. We are created to work. There is paid work and unpaid work. Your work is your love made visible in the world. Whether you run a company, serve coffee, serve on a board, stay at home with your kids, create products, or volunteer at the community center, your work is your love made visible. We are created to be co-creators with God in this world.