Jan 19 2011

Created For Work

trumpeter swans 504The Sunday School class I teach has been studying John Ortberg’s latest book, The Me I Want to Be.  The last couple of chapters we’ve looked at have to do with our work or vocation.  At one point Ortberg writes, “God says in Genesis that human beings are to ‘rule’ over the earth, or to exercise ‘dominion.’  We often think of these words in terms of ‘dominating’ or ‘bossing around.’  But the true idea behind them is that we are to invest our abilities to create value on the earth, to plant and build and write and organize and heal and invent in ways that bless people and make the earth flourish.”

Although some people view work as drudgery we were created to work.  This may even be a part of what it means to be created “in the image of God.“ (Genesis 1:26-27)  The God who works made us to work as well.  Now obviously work can be understood in a variety of different ways but the truth remains that we are all supposed to use the gifts and abilities God has given us in fruitful service one way or another.

frosted cow parsnip 360Marcus Aurelius once wrote, “When you arise reluctantly in the morning, think like this: ‘I arise to accomplish a human task.  Should I then complain, when I am about to do that for which I was born, and for which I was placed on earth?  Or was I created to pamper myself under the blankets, even if that is more pleasant?’  Were you born, then, to enjoy and, generally to feel, but not to act?  Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants, the spiders, the bees who all perform their own tasks and in their own way helping to let the cosmos function?  Don’t you then want to do your work as a human?  Don’t you hasten to do what is befitting your nature?”

Aurelius’ words remind us that even plants and animals have work to do.  God has fashioned them and given to them what they need to do this work.  Pay close attention to nature and you will see this is true.  In the same manner, God has made each of us to work and given to us what we need to do the work He created us for.   Our lives will be fuller and the planet healthier if we will “invest our abilities…in ways that bless people and make the earth flourish.”


(I took the two pictures above last winter while visiting Yellowstone National Park.)