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Since the Dawn of Time Our Purpose Has Involved Work

Hidden Nuggets Series #41 – “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” – Genesis 2:15

bamboo reed umbrella on a beach looking at to oceanIn light of my decision to quit my job and become a stay at home dad, I’ve been reflecting on how my work will change going forward. It will be different for sure as I won’t have a typical employer-employee relationship. I’ll be responsible to make sure tasks get completed around the home and that my writing stays on track. Of course, my wife will be around to monitor how things are going, but I’ll essentially be accountable to myself for it to happen.

Whether a person is a homemaker or a CEO work can become tedious and tiresome. Many get sick and tired of their jobs and begin to look for ways to escape. At times it seems the best thing would be to win the Mega-Millions Jackpot and escape to the beaches of paradise, never to work again.

If you feel that way perhaps a different perspective is in order. It’s time to realize that humans were endowed with the nature to work from the very beginning. Even the first two created beings could not escape it, even in paradise.

Being Guided to Your Calling

The Bible describes in Genesis how God created the universe and all that it contains. At the end of the creative work, God delighted in His effort and gave Adam and Eve these instructions, “…have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28). Mankind was given the responsibility to rule.

And then God did something awesome. He created a garden of paradise – in a place called Eden.

Genesis 2:15 highlights God’s intentionality in providing for mankind in that He “…took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden…” He could have placed them anywhere on the face of the planet and watched from on high as they fended for themselves. I can only imaging how frustrating that would have been with no guidance from God. I’m sure Adam would have been thinking, “What’s my purpose?” “Why am I here?” “What am I supposed to do?”

Instead, God was directly involved in where mankind ended up. That’s a comforting thought knowing God has a specific place for me to be at a specific time of my life. I should trust Him to guide me to that place when He is ready, like he is doing for me now.

Eden Was Their Workplace

The bigger picture here is that we are placed where He wants us with a clear purpose in mind. Look at Genesis 2:15 again – “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

The phrase “to tend and keep it” doesn’t make it sound like the Garden of Eden could have taken care of itself if Adam and Eve had sat around all day. The message appears clear – they had work related responsibilities. They weren’t simply enjoying the fruits of paradise all day long.

At that time, the world was still in a state of perfection. So Adam and Eve probably enjoyed their work more deeply than you and I ever could. I don’t entirely know what that work was but life in paradise wasn’t simply reclining in a beach chair sipping piña coladas.

Reflections on Your Work Situation

The take away today is to reflect on your current work situation. Are you frustrated with work and don’t know how to deal with it? Is this leading you to slack off and only give it half effort? Are you beginning to dream of the greener grass on the other side of the fence?

If this is the case consider:

1. God wants to use us for a purpose and He plants us where we are needed at a given time. It may be a long time or a short time, but He is intently involved in the process of where we should be.

2. Being perpetually idle should not enter our thinking. God instilled in humanity the desire to work and bring a profit. Don’t give into temptation to become lazy and coast through life.

3. Tend to your work with excellence. We are to take care of our business (responsibilities) at work for as long as we are there.

4. While it is OK to dream and plan for a better career position, keep in mind the timing for such career advancements. Patience takes precedence over spur-of-the-moment, whiplash, emotionally charged decisions. God will direct you to stay put or move when He’s ready.

We can find pleasure in the seasons of employment to which we are called but only if we recognize why we are there. If we can’t see that, then work will not be fulfilling…only a frustrating burden.

Are you content in your current position? What do you feel is the main purpose for where you are right now?  When/how did you realize it was time to move on? How do you find fulfillment in work?

Image by Angelo Ramos at Wikimedia Commons

Next Post: A Memorial Day Task: Teach Your Kids to Remember the Fallen

Prior Post: Do You Want to Beat the Market For 60 Cents An Hour?

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  1. I’m not super content with what I’m doing, but that has motivated me to work hard to move on. Even God is like, “dude, time to get the heck out!” 🙂

  2. Love this sentence, Brian – “We can find pleasure in the seasons of employment to which we are called but only if we recognize why we are there.” I feel very blessed that the majority of adult working life I have loved what I do. Not that there weren’t frustrations and annoyances along the way, but overall I woke-up in the morning happy to go into work. When I returned to my private practice, I felt I could do more good working one-on-one with clients again. And the fact that they eliminated my team, only made the decision easier. And there were struggles, of course, it was during the Great Recession and my husband eventually lost his job as well – but my conviction and faith remained steadfast that this was exactly where I was supposed to be. And I was right. 🙂 Just as you know that being a stay-at-dad is your step.

    • Thanks for sharing that Shannon! “…frustrations and annoyances…” It’s a mistake to assume conflict in your job means you shouldn’t be there. We are all human, right? There will be issues at any job.

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