If you’re like many Greek students across the country, you may be in the middle of working a summer job or internship. Let’s be honest, the corporate life can be a lot different from life as a college student. My first summer internship consisted of: getting dressed up in the morning, sitting in rush hour traffic, sitting in an office for eight hours, and then sitting in more rush hour traffic to return home. That summer, I understood for the first time why people got so excited about Fridays. Although I did have some tedious intern work that summer (data entry and paper filing anyone?) I was fortunate to get to work on some projects that were very rewarding as well. I was at a non-profit, and the thought that my work would improve the lives of at-risk youth was very gratifying.
But what if I was working for a for-profit company? Would that have made my work less meaningful? Would working for a Christian organization be more holy and pleasing to God than working for a secular company? How does God view work? If you’ve ever wondered any of those questions before, you are not alone. Let’s look at Genesis 1 and 2 to see what the Creation story says about work.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Genesis 2 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
Questions to Consider
1. What does it mean to be created in the image of God?
2. What commandment does God give humanity in this story?
3. What attitudes do you have towards work? What emotions come up when thinking about work?
4. How would knowing that work is glorifying to God change your attitude?
We see in the creation story of Genesis that God is a worker, and as people created in the image of God, we are workers as well. I think it’s important to note that God gives people work (tending the garden in Genesis 2:15) before the fall occurs and sin enters the world (Gen. 3). Thus, working is part of God’s original design for humans, part of what it means to be human. God allows us to participate in his creation, in having dominion over the earth, even when we’re filing papers and doing data entry.
We also see that there is no sacred/secular divide in God’s eyes when God views work. God created people to be workers, but the first official religious jobs as the priests and Levites (Numbers 18) were not established until many hundreds of years later! While I can think of a few jobs that are probably not honoring to God, the majority of jobs fall in line with God’s creative purposes in having dominion over the earth and meeting genuine human needs. As you think about the vocational field you want to go into, how might God be calling you to use your skills, experiences, and abilities to make an impact on the world?
Many Greek IV alumni are making a big impact for the Kingdom of God in their workplaces. Check out this video of Will, a Phi Gamma Delta alum who is a world-changer:
Where do you see God moving in your workplace? What is pleasing and honoring to God? What are some areas of brokenness that need redemption from Jesus?