Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” – John 5:17
I begin my new children’s book by saying, “In the very beginning, a long time ago, God created the world so that we would all know that He Himself is a working God, though you might think that sounds just a little bit odd.”
Why is it odd to think of God “working”? After all, Jesus worked and made it clear that the “Father is always at his work to this very day” (see John 5:17).
I think it sounds odd because we rarely if ever preach or sing about God’s working character. We talk so much about God’s love, holiness, and mercy, that we forget that the first thing he wanted us to know about him is that he is a God who creates—a God who makes things (see Genesis 1:1)!
This is unique in the history of world religions. Every other origin story says the gods created human beings to work and serve the gods. Only the Bible says that God himself worked to serve us.
What does that radical truth mean for us today? At least three things.
1. First, it means that work is inherently good. Because God works, our work is not a “necessary evil.” It’s not a means to an end to do the “real work of ministry.” By choosing to work himself, God blessed the idea of labor with incomprehensible goodness and dignity.
2. Second, God’s work shows us that creativity is of infinite worth. In our industrial society, creativity and beauty are almost always treated as “second class” to order and function, including within the Church. But as world-renowned painter Makoto Fujimura points out, “God the artist communicates to us first, before God the lecturer.” Because God is creative, we must fight against relegating creativity to the fringes.
3. Finally, because God works, Christianity is far more relevant to our daily lives. We don’t worship an elitist god who sits idly by observing others working. We worship a God who created “in the beginning,” and who took on a common trade when he came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. And so, “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15).
Think and pray
The God of the Bible knows what it means to work. Praise him for that truth and for his creative character today!
Father, thank You for Your work in and around our lives. Thank You for giving us an example in Jesus. And thank You for inviting us to be a part of the work You are doing in the lives of others. Find us faithful and join You, and obedient to follow. Amen.
Jordan Raynor helps Christians respond to the radical, biblical truth that their work matters for eternity. He does this through his bestselling books, podcast, and weekly devotional—content that has served millions of Christ-followers in every country on earth. In addition to his writing, Jordan serves as the Executive Chairman of Threshold 360. A sixth-generation Floridian, Jordan lives in Tampa with his wife and their three young daughters. This post first appeared on workmatters.org.