Partnering with God
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
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The creation story says that humankind was created in God's image and immediately assigned a task: "Let them have dominion" (Gen. 1:26, NKJV et al.). Human creatures received responsibility and resources. The Creator invited the creature into a partnership to manage, develop, and exercise faithful stewardship that would benefit all humankind and glorify him.
In other words, God invited people to join him at work. He does that throughout the Old and New Testaments and throughout history. "We are God's fellow workers," Paul writes to the Corinthians. God works through his people for the creation and re-creation of God's loving purposes.
Work for God
From the beginning, our daily work has been part of God's work to create, develop, manage, and reconcile. Some people once asked Jesus in John 6, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he sent." Jesus replied. To believe is to act on what you hold to be true—in each and every circumstance.
Usually each and every circumstance is rather ordinary, even somewhat routine (though with God, nothing is totally routine). Certainly it is not drab, mundane, meaningless drudgery. Occasionally the circumstances may be unusual, even heroic. Though heroes may emerge in a single dramatic moment, they develop through the faithful exercise of skills in the each-and-every-day work of love.
Work Like God
We are called to work like God. To try to "be" God—to think we could transcend our humanness—would be disaster, built-in failure, sin. God is God; we live out his purposes, will, and design, within our limitations. But, like God, we are to approach our vocations with creativity, love, excellence, purposefulness, joy. Each reflects the Creator, and Jesus, God in flesh!
Christ is the servant leader. With competence, commitment, and pleasure, Jesus took the full risk of compassion, even to the point of giving his own life for the sake of others. Like Jesus (mentor as well as Savior), we give our lives, our daily work, for the sake of others, indeed for the well-being of the world.
Work with God
On the assembly line, in the classroom, boardroom, office, kitchen—the living Christ comes alongside us to guide, empower, challenge, and befriend. Our work for God is always with God. We are never alone. "Lo, I am with you always," Jesus promised. The living Christ, the present Holy Spirit, is our resource to do the work well; excellently, faithfully, and gladly. This is God's work: The world benefits—and so do we—and, we glorify God.
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