Freedom from the Curse of Work

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Freedom from the Curse of Work

Did you know that your work and your workplace are under a curse?

Have you ever thought about our attitude toward work and why most people think of work as a drudgery? Don't most of us see our work as a necessary duty, toilsome and difficult at times, often unpleasant, frequently boring, but nonetheless essential? So, typically on Monday mornings, as we face a new work week, most people are thinking "I'll be glad when the weekend gets here and I don't have to go to work."

You know, God is the originator of work and work was a part of His wonderful plan for people. Genesis 2:15 tells us, "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." Adam was given a job as a farmer of sorts. Adam's job was not secular; it was a sacred trust from God. Work is God's perfect plan for people. God meant it to bring purpose and fulfillment to our lives.

So how did we get from the Garden of Eden to our typical perspective of work? You know the answer. Once sin entered the picture through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, everything good that God created has been corrupted, including work. The reason you don't want to go to work on Monday mornings goes all the way back to original sin and its curse.

You'll find that curse in Genesis 3 where God said to Adam: "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground. . ."

Paraphrased: You'll have to work, like you've been doing, but now it's going to be full of difficulties. You'll earn your living, but the thorns and thistles will make it unpleasant and it will be painfully toilsome at times.

Maybe that’s like a description of what you face as you start your work today, whether it's in a workplace or in your home. But because we as believers have been set free from the curse, we can also be set free from this sin-cursed attitude toward work.

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Tell me the truth: Were you delighted to go to work today? Or were you thinking, "Whoa, it's only Tuesday; four more days until the weekend"?

Why do we find this fairly universal attitude toward work? Everyone seems to live for the weekends. The topic is about the curse of work and how we can be free from it because of Jesus.

God gave Adam work to do in the Garden of Eden, and until sin entered the picture, work was something to be enjoyed, something fulfilling, something meaningful. Everything God created was good, so work was good. The original workplace was pleasant, a place of fellowship with others and with God, a place of cooperation and obedience. Adam's job was to take care of the garden—or farm, and that was a sacred assignment from God, not some secular job he had to do to earn a living.

But once sin entered, that original plan was corrupted. And from that point on work became drudgery. Do you wonder why your workplace seems so miserable sometimes, or why relationships are so strained, or why it's so difficult to get motivated on your job? It's because work of every sort has suffered the "thorns and thistles" of the curse as found in Genesis 3.

In our corrupted workplaces, people reject God and almost any other authority placed over them. There is often little cooperation and lots of jealousy. Everybody is out for number one with little regard for the welfare of others. The workplace is ruled by human nature and that is a sinful nature.

And here you and I are, born-again believers in Jesus Christ, forced to go out into that corrupted workplace five days a week and be abused and mistreated and have to work our fingers to the bone and no one appreciates us! If only we could be set free from this sin-corrupted work environment—right?

Wrong! Jesus came to redeem us from the curse of sin, but He purposely left us in this world. We now have the amazing opportunity to demonstrate what work is really supposed to be like—yes, even in the midst of that corrupted workplace! Wow! What a privilege you have to show your world how God intended work to be. Do you do that? Would you like to?

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Work as given by God can be fulfilling, rewarding, meaningful and pleasant. Right, you're thinking, if you work for some Christian organization or church. No, that's not what I mean.

In Genesis 1 and 2 we see the first work assignment given by God to Adam. He told him to be fruitful and increase in number. To fill the earth and subdue it. To rule over the creature world, and to name all the living creatures. Then he assigned Adam the job of taking care of the garden. That was Adam's job description.

Notice that as originally intended, work was assigned by God and man obeyed. And it's interesting to note that the first job description would be thought of by most Christians today as a "secular" job. But since God assigned it, it had to be sacred, right? The same is true today. The nature of the work we do does not determine if it is sacred or not. Work is sacred when it is assigned by God.

Now, I ask you to think of your own work situation, whether you're in the workforce or working without a paycheck! Has your work been assigned to you by God? Are you confident that you are in the job God wants you to be in? God doesn't ask us what we want to do. He assigns us work.

Ephesians 2:10 tells us: "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." God is not here to make us feel fulfilled in the career or work that we choose. We are here to do the good work that He has prepared for us to do.

Maybe going to work is hard for you because you're asking God to help you accomplish your plans and He's waiting for you to give Him the blank piece of paper and ask Him to write the plan. You see, even when we get the job we think we want, or make the money we want to earn, if it is not God's plan for our lives, we're going to be miserable. Work is rewarding and fulfilling only when we are obediently doing the work God has assigned us to do.

″How do I know what God wants me to do?″, you're asking. You spend time with the Lord and His word, you put first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and I promise you, without fail, you'll know whether God wants you where you are, or whether you're supposed to be somewhere else.

When we have the job God intended for us to have, work is redeemed from the curse, it is sacred, we can do our work to God's glory, and we can enjoy work as originally intended by our Creator.

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Work is a gift from God, and as intended by Him, it brings contentment, fulfillment, enjoyment, and all those good things we keep looking for. The problem is, work fell under the curse when Adam and Eve sinned, and from that time on, it has been corrupted by sin. That corruption has caused most of us to have an unhealthy attitude toward work, whether we work at a place of employment or in our own worlds.

Here's the really great news, from Galatians 3:13: "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree. '" Jesus Christ came to redeem us from the curse of work. With Jesus in our lives, we can realize the original purpose of work and we can be set free from the corruption that has made work a dirty word for many.

In order to do that, we must first have a personal relationship with Jesus through faith. Then, you must make sure that the work you are doing is God's assignment for you. God has work for each of His children to do, and when God gives you work, it is sacred. Don't pay any attention to people's opinion of what is sacred work and what isn't. Work is sacred when God gives it to you, because God invented work.

Looking at Adam again, he was given a divine job assignment, and as long as he was willing to obey, he was living in paradise. Work was wonderful, everything was sweet. But he was also given the freedom to rebel against God's plan for his life, and unfortunately, he chose to do that. You and I have the same freedom to rebel against God's plans for our lives, but when we do, we pay the price… You can choose your sin but you can't choose its consequences.

So, if going to work is tiring and drudgery and difficult for you, it may be that you're living in rebellion to God's rules and He has allowed you to do that and you are paying the price for it. You see, the Bible tells us that, "This is love for God; to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome. . ." (1 John 5:3).

If you want to transform your work day into something meaningful and worthwhile, stop living in rebellion to God's rules and do the work He has for you to do. You will no longer be under the curse of work, and remember, Jesus came to set us free from that curse.

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Thank God it's Fri. . . Monday! My guess is some of you have already thanked God that it's Friday, but what I want you to try to do is to help you see how you can truly learn to say, "Thank God it's Monday." Thank God for work, for my job assignment, and for what God is going to do with me and through me in my job.

Look again at the first work assignment as given to Adam; God never left him alone. God was always there with him. Well, once we receive Christ as Savior, we are never alone; He is with us in all our work.

In fact, He has invited us to come to Him and take his yoke upon us. A yoke is a wooden block that holds two animals together while they work. Jesus wants to share his yoke with you, to have you work right beside Him, and the good news is, His yoke is easy. So, when we go to our jobs on a daily basis yoked up with Jesus, working with Him beside us, our jobs become much easier. That's one way Jesus redeems our work from the curse.

Now, think of all that contention in your workplace; that dog-eat-dog attitude that permeates your job; the unfairness and discrimination and selfishness that is rampant. It all started when work was cursed with thorns and thistles and pain. But because Jesus became a curse for us on the cross, we don't have to live under that curse anymore, and that means we can and should have a transformed attitude toward work.

This means that you and I can demonstrate the transforming power of Jesus Christ by our attitudes toward work, because since we've been set free from the curse of the law through faith in Jesus Christ, we may have to work in a corrupted environment, but we don't have to be corrupted by it. We can stand out in that crowd as a bright light of hope by demonstrating a transformed attitude toward our work.

The only way that workplace will be changed is when the individual hearts of people are changed. And God may have you there for that very reason—to help some of those people see their need for God through the way you work. Pretty exciting, don't you think?

But it has to begin with a changed attitude on your part toward work–an attitude of thankfulness, an attitude of anticipation, an attitude of doing what God has called you to do. Then you can honestly say: Thank God it's Monday!

Written by Mary Whelchel, founder and president of The Christian Working Woman.    Used by permission. Content distributed by WorkLife.org > Used for non-profit teaching purposes only.

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