“For by him [Christ Jesus] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
When I glanced at my calendar this morning, I was reminded that today is “Independence Day Observed.” A curious thing that is. I distinctly remember that I did not put off celebrating Independence Day yesterday, knowing that I was to observe it today. And what’s not to celebrate? It does not require a penetrating look at the 245 year history of the United Stated to understand God’s wondrous providence and blessing upon her.
Yet we would be remiss if we did not also pause and reflect upon a very sordid past, an undermining of “foundational mandates such as the sanctity of life, marriage, family, sex, gender and sexuality,” as Dr. Harry Reeder puts it. As followers of Christ, we are called to stand for the Kingdom of God, uphold these foundational mandates, and be unashamed and unafraid as we do so. Let us continue praying for our nation, particularly that we, as the church of Jesus Christ, “may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Tim. 2:2).
But back to this “Independence Day Observed.” I suppose that this is no holiday if it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, since most people aren’t working. It would only be fair to give everyone a day off to truly celebrate. But what we really want is just a day off. There is a loathsome attitude toward work in our culture. We work to have, and then to retire.
What if we saw work as ordained of God, bringing Him honor and glory through the labors of our hands? Just a couple of thoughts to ponder on this Monday. First, God works! We see God creating the heavens and the earth in Genesis 1, and in Genesis 2:2, it is called “work.” When God “rested” on the seventh day, it was only from the work of creation. That was finished. But he didn’t stop working. As Jesus says to the Pharisees, “My Father is working until now, and I am working” (John 5:17).
Our passage above reminds us that God continues to uphold the creation through Jesus. But he also continues to meet the needs of all His creatures. As Ps. 104 reminds us, “You make springs gush forth in the valleys…they give drink to every beast of the field…You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate…O Lord, how manifold are your works!”
But most remarkable of all is that God created men and women in His image as a worker. God placed man in the garden and called him to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it.” We are to have dominion over the creation as co-laborers of God. In Genesis 2, we see this contrast: “And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, nd there he put the man who he had formed…The LordGod took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Gen. 2:8, 15).
What an incredible privilege we have to be coworkers with God. If we had business cards, we could rightly put “God and (your name), Partners.” God conferred great dignity on us when he gave us the responsibility to manage the creation.
Now, we know that when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, ate of the forbidden fruit, and plunged mankind into sin, work would change. It would now be by the “sweat of your brow.” Work is hard now because of sin. But work is not bad. We need to view our work as His work. We need to do it His way. And we need to trust Him for His results. And as we labor on this way, we can work for God’s glory, to worship and serve Him.
So, as many of you enjoy this “day off,” let us not wake up tomorrow thinking, “Great, Tuesday is now Monday.” Rather, let us rejoice in having been redeemed by Christ, called to labor with Him, and seek His glory and the welfare of our city.