The Covid-19 pandemic has put many people out of work. My hospital cancelled all elective surgeries to prevent viral spread and of course, to make room for sick patients. But so far in California we are not seeing the surge of infected patients we were expecting. As a result I have worked very little over the past month.
Waiting at home for the pandemic to pass, I have meditated on theological aspects of work. Mankind must work. It is innate to our construction. It is critical towards maintaining not only our income and livelihood but our health. It is a (G)odly activity because God does it and so must we. Jesus said “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” This is why we must work, because it is a communicable attribute from God to us. It explains why we are happy when we get a new job, a new contract, a new business opportunity, even though the work may be challenging.
God did not create us to be idle, but to be busy with work. From the very beginning, the book of Genesis tells us that “God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” Even in his pre-fall state, man had to work. It was natural, it was fitting, and it was a pleasure. It was both physical and intellectual because Adam had to manage the garden and assign nomenclature to all the species that God created. Reaching back to my college Botany and Zoology classes I can tell you that it must have been a daunting task.
But simultaneous with Adam and Eve’s disobedience and fall, work took an undesired left turn. Work was no longer easy. It was still natural and fitting, but it became a curse. God told Adam that “cursed is the ground because of you… and, by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread.” Work would be difficult going forward. Man would have to hustle, sweat, and be consumed by physical and intellectual effort. Nothing will come easy like it did before.
But we have to keep in mind that such a curse also unveils a blessing for mankind. As difficult as work has become, it is many-fold better for man to work than NOT work. To keep his body and mind busy, to earn a living, and to provide for his family. Idleness leads to a static existence, which leads to physical degeneration and depression, and in some cases to criminal behavior.
Prov 12:11 Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.
Prov 14:23 Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty.
Prov 18:9 One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.
Furthermore, for believers God promises many times in Scriptures that He will bless the work of their hands.
Prov 16:3 Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
Deut 15:10 the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.
This perspective on the necessity of work has never been more clear than in a time of pandemic and idleness. I am trying to avoid idleness by spending time with family, writing a blog post, and catching up things. But you can only catch up to a certain extent. Until the blessing of work returns. It can’t come any sooner!
Stay healthy, Delight in Truth friends.