‘Now the Lord God had planted a garden… The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it’. (Genesis 2:8, 15)
Our creator has made us creative creatures.Dorothy Sayers was right, then,in her epigram: ‘work is not primarily a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do.’ Since the creator has given us gifts, he intends them to be used. He wants us to be fulfilled and not frustrated.
Some people are very negative towards their job and give the impression that, if possible, work is something to be avoided. People tolerate their job as a necessary nuisance, a way of earning a living, and a tedious consequence of the Fall. According to the scripture work is a blessing and not a curse, and it is the creation not the Fall which has made us workers.
Some people have no particular understanding of their work. They have never stopped to think it. They simply accept that work is a part of our human nature and are compulsive workers.
Those who are trying to develop a Christian mind at work, however look first to Creation. Work itself is a consequence of our creation in God’s image. God represented himself as a worker in Genesis1. Day by day and stage by stage, his creative plan unfolded. His final act of creation, before resting on the seventh day, was to create human beings, and in doing so to make them workers too. We have been privileged stewards of God, commissioned to guard and develop the environment in his name.
Work is one of the characteristics that distinguish man from the rest of creatures, whose activity for sustaining their lives cannot be called work. It only transforms nature to serve his needs, but because through it he also achieves fulfillment as a human being, and also for the benefit of the community. Adam did not cultivate the Garden of Eden merely for his own enjoyment but to feed and clothe his family. Productivity of the soil in the Bible is related to needs of society. Thus, God gave Israel a ‘land flowing with milk and honey’ at the same time issued instructions that the harvest was to be shared with the poor, orphans and widows.
The knowledge that our work is beneficial and appreciated adds considerably to our sense of job satisfaction. We shall value our work highly, see to it that those we may employ are able to do the same, feel deeply for the unemployment, and try to ensure that though out of employment they are not out of work. Let us expect to remain workers all our lives, so that even after we have retired, we may spend whatever energy we have left in some form of service.
The writer is an Asst. Professor in Department of Chemistry, St. Joseph’s College (Autonomous) Jakhama.