Scott LaPierre Ministries
Is Work a Blessing or a Curse? (Genesis 3:19)
Is work a blessing or a curse? Genesis 3:19 says, "By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground.” Life is very different because of the fall. Read or listen to this chapter from Work and Rest God's Way to see why work is still a blessing.
Table of contentsWork Is a Blessing Because God WorksGod’s Work Brings Him GloryOur Work Should Bring God GloryWork Is a Blessing Versus a CurseGod Put Adam to Work in the Garden Before the FallOur Work Can Be Satisfying and FulfillingThe Fall Can Make Work Feel Like a CurseOur Workplaces Don't Feel Like EdenThe Immorality of Laziness
Most of us probably feel like we could have a good argument with ourselves about whether work is a blessing or a curse. Bob Black, an American anarchist and author, wrote in his essay, The Abolition of Work:
No one should ever work. Work is the source of nearly all the misery in the world. Almost any evil you’d care to name comes from working or from living in a world designed for work. In order to stop suffering, we have to stop working.
Bob Black, The Abolition of Work and Other Essays (Port Townsend: Loompanics Unlimited, 1986).
Not only does Black think work is curse, he thinks it’s the cause of all suffering.
How do we determine whether this author is correct in his assessment? How do we know if work is a blessing or a curse? We look to the Bible because it is the authority. The question is not, “What does Bob, or me, or you, or anyone else think?” The question is, “What does the Bible teach?”
Work Is a Blessing Because God Works
Morality (or goodness) is defined by God:
For the Lord is good.
Psalm 100:5; see also 1 Chronicles 16:34, Psalm 25:8, 34:8, 86:5, 135:3, and 145:7.
Good is what God does, and what God does is good.
Just as listening and speaking are moral, so is work. The Bible opens with God working: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Then:
And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
The words “His work” occur three times in two verses. God is the first worker, revealing work is good and moral!
God’s Work Brings Him Glory
Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows the work of His hands.” God’s work is creative, purposeful, thorough, and it benefits us: “For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands” (Psalm 92:4). Jesus said, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working” (John 5:17).
Isaiah 6 showcases the wonderful vision of God sitting on His throne, high and lifted up, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Angels fly around Him, and Isaiah 6:3 says, “One cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!’” Creation is the display case for God’s work.
Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” The greatness of creation reveals the greatness of the Creator. God reveals Himself to the world by His creation because work reveals something about the worker. Work speaks of character, motivation, and skills. God’s work is of the highest quality because it is an expression of who He is.
Our Work Should Bring God Glory
We should work because we want to be like God. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” We are made in the image of God with some of His attributes. We work because we are His image-bearers! Ephesians 5:1 commands us to “be imitators of God.