Happy Labor Day weekend!
Why should we celebrate work? Because work is an opportunity to fulfill the role God had in mind for humans when He made us in the beginning: “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…and let them rule…over all the earth.” [Gen. 1:26-28]
This remarkable responsibility (I call it, the “First Commission”), covers a lot of ground. Literally! It necessitates a rainbow of jobs: earth-moving, bridge-building, skyscraper-making, ship-building, dam-constructing, fish-managing, potato-planting, truck-driving, log-cutting, house-building, bed-making, wall-painting, car-fixing, grocery-shopping, money-managing, coffee-grinding, cake-baking, music-making, dish-washing, lawn-mowing, hair-cutting. You get the picture.
Our great challenge is to do these things in sync with the Lord of our labor. Our Employer. It’s His stuff we are managing, grinding, mowing and molding. It’s His Commission we are living out. It’s His world we are stewarding―fallen and broken though it be.
God did not abandon this planet when Adam sinned, nor did He give the world over to Satan’s ownership or authority when Adam and Eve fell from grace in the garden. The earth and all it contains remains God’s own possession [Ps. 24:1], and He continues to hold it together by the word of His power [Heb. 1:3], sustaining it through time and space [Col. 1:16-17].
Satan’s offer to give Jesus "the Kingdoms of the world” [Luke 4:5-8] has led many to think that this world was Satan’s to give away. Nothing could be further from the truth! Satan’s choice of words on that occasion was masterful. Masterfully misleading, that is! I’ll explain why I say this in coming weeks.
But before I do, I have a question for you: How can a celebration of labor fit with Paul's admonition to "love not the world, nor the things in the world?"
How can a follower of Christ really celebrate work, if that work―be it car-fixing, cake-baking or coffee-grinding―is so closely associated with this present world, which we are not supposed to love?
Hummm....What gives here?
What gives is an enormous amount of confusion over the term "world." On the one hand, we have Paul exhorting us to "love not the world," and on the other we have John telling us, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..."
Our confusion lies in the fact that the term "world" [kosmos, in Greek] has four different meanings in the New Testament!
Hang on. This is important.