What was your first job? Did you like it? Was it a grind? Is your job still a grind? Everyone has a different opinion on their work or their work place. Some love it, some hate it.

Do you know that we spend 1/3 of our life at work? Because our work consumes roughly 8-10 hours of our day, your experience will add either significant levels of joy to your life or it will create much misery. In light of that it’s very fair to ask questions around work and faith and how the two go together. If we’re serious about our faith and we are serious about our work, then maybe, just maybe God can be in the middle of it all.

Ecclesiastes 5:18-19 says, “This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate
for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their
toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given
—for this is their lot. Moreover, when
God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy
them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift
of God.”

The bible says it’s ‘appropriate’ for us to find ‘satisfaction’ in our work. That’s enough for me to figure out why and how.

In the next few posts we’ll be investigating how work can be holy, redeeming, satisfying, purposeful, meaningful, etc. How can we have HOLY SHIFTS at work? Is our work more than just punching a clock?

Where’s the first place to start? The best place might be the first work shift recorded in Scripture – that would be Genesis 1 and God’s work of creation. After a long and productive 6 days, the writer of Genesis says that “by the seventh day, God had finished the work he had been doing” (Genesis 2:2)

A few things to think about here: One is that God was actually working. Creation was a task, it was work. Because it’s God we’re talking about, we don’t really associate it with ‘work’, but God was busy making stuff, creating something from nothing. The word in hebrew used for ‘work’ actually (simply) means, ordinary human work. Why does the wrtier of Genesis associate God with ‘ordinary work’? Because as we think about our own work, he wants us to identify with God’s work and his role as a worker.

Tim Keller says that the Bible talks about work before it talks about anything. This is so true. Right at the start of this grand story two characters are found working: Genesis 2 shows a transition from God completing his work to Adam being commissioned to his.

In Genesis 1 we find a God who creates, forms, completes, acknowledges, admires, and even rests (more on that in week 5). We know that there are a few different views or interpretations of Genesis 1, and this isn’t the place to argue either of them, however, no matter your view or opinion, we can all come to one conclusion, God did this. It doesn’t matter how much time he took, but that he took the time to do it.

So…it’s obvious that God is a worker. He is also an admirer of his work. He looks back on his day and says, “That was good”. We learn how to work from God, but we also learn how to appreciate a job well done. From the smallest tasks to the most complex projects, we should be able to look back on our day and say, like God, “that was good” and sometimes even “that was very good”.

Notice he doesn’t just acknowledge humans as good, but everything he created. This is so key to our understanding of how we work and what value we put on certain jobs. Of course humanity is God’s masterpiece, Paul says as much in Ephesians 2:10. But God teaches us, from day one, that every part of the job is important, plants, trees, water, sky, land, light, darkness, and yes, humans. How about our work, do we value every person’s contribution to your company or project? Do we value everyone’s contribution to our society? God teaches us that we can and should, because all work is valuable.

Since God is our fist example of work, how would you write up his resume? If God had a business, what would be on it? And could we limit it to one card or should he have a card for every job he does. Here are few to consider…

God is…
–      a creator (Genesis 1)
–      an artist (Ephesians 2:10)
–      a writer (he writes redemptive stories and invites to part of it)
–      an investor (he takes a risk on us, believing that we will grow)
–      a business partner (he invites us to do good work along side him)
–      an installer
–      a finisher (he completes what he starts, Phil 1:6)
–      a fire fighter (enters into our chaos)
–      a sailor (navigates through storms)
–      a fire starter (Moses and the burning bush, gets our attention)
–      a doctor (makes broken things well)
–      a waiter (Jesus came not to condemn, but to serve)
–      a counsellor (a name for the Holy Spirit)
–      a life coach (helps me figure things out)
–      a carpenter (a builder and constructor…oh, and Jesus was a carpenter)
–      a teacher (Jesus taught A LOT)
–      God’s a shift boss…the best you’ll have

small(er) group questions:
What are your first impressions? Either of this series or this first talk on God being
our first example of work?
What do you think about God being creator? Does it matter to you if the world was
created in 6 days (literally) or if the point of the story is more that God was the one
who did it?
– feel free to read through Genesis 1 if you have time and discuss what the most
important thing to take from it is?
When it comes to finding satisfaction in your work (Eccl 5:18-19), what side of the
line do you stand? Do you find meaning in your work? Or is work a necessary evil?
Do you have a hard time appreciating your work? Is God’s example of looking back
and admiring his work as good a helpful image for you in your work?
After reading Ephesians 2:10, what are your thoughts of God as an artist?
Last thing. Which one of God’s ‘jobs’ resonate with you most? And if you were to
give God a job title, what would it be and why?