What the creation story teaches us about work

If we could get away with it, many of us would prefer to stay home and do nothing than work to earn a living. Why? Because we have a flawed understanding of what work and enterprise mean.

What you earn is an outcome, not an event. We hear people talk of working smart – not working hard. While working smart sounds sophisticated, there’s no replacement for working hard.

If you want to change the outcome of something, you need to deal with or adjust the process. Instead, a majority of us choose to curse the outcome (results) while ignoring the root cause.

Even the Bible dives into the concept of work. It introduces a working God in Genesis chapter one. The chapter is a summary of the creation story, and shows God working for six days and resting for one. The ratio is 6:1 with regards to work versus rest. As a percentage, God spent 86 per cent of that week working.

Desired goal

How was God able to work that long without complaining? There are many reasons for sure, but what comes to my mind is from a sentence repeated several time in the first chapter of Genesis: God enjoyed his work. His observation each day was that the outcome of his work was good – in fact, on the sixth day, He called it “very good”.

The earth was without form and void. There was total darkness. Yet, God never bothered himself with what wasn’t there, but with what He could achieve by working. He created light. He wasn’t concerned with the darkness – He separated it and moved on.

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We don’t all work in ideal environments, but that shouldn’t deter us from striving to achieve a desired goal. Challenges will always be there– we need to the right attitude to separate ourselves from them, and move on.

Think of it like a farm. What happens when it’s not tilled and kept? Within no time, the crops will be choked by weeds. Tilling and keeping are other words for work. We’re either preparing our gardens for planting, or weeding to safeguard the harvest. And the more diligently you keep your farm, the more assured the harvest (reward).

There is a small percentage of the harvest determined by factors outside yourself, but the equation works more often than not. It may be true that business is not doing well or that your employer pays you peanuts, but this could well be the human equivalent of the void and darkness God faced in his endeavour to create the heavens and earth.

Be purposeful in your work. Put in the six days and the seventh day of rest will surely come your way.

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