When I wake up in the morning, some of the first thoughts to come across the wire are about what I’ve got to do that day. Tasks at work, cut the grass, go to the store, exercise, go to a meeting (the delight of my day), and so on. And since we are creatures made for doing, this all makes a lot of sense.
We were, after all, created with work in mind (Genesis 2:15; Ephesians 2:10). God ultimately is the one who calls us to our respective vocations (father, husband, provider, mother, household manager, electrician, computer programmer, etc), which are the areas he sees fit for our glorification of Him (1 Corinthians 7:17).
But there is fundamentally something prior to all of this. Even in Genesis, before we get to Adam being assigned work and tasks, we first see that God is at work. He creates the world with his awesome word, of fishes and birds and plants and mountains and trees and everything else in between. And after the fall into sin it is God working to clothe Adam and Eve in their nakedness. Throughout the pages that follow, God is the primary worker in creation, bringing about redemption through his people Israel. It is He who is the primary actor in history.
So before we would fulfill our respective callings as workers out in God’s world, we have to see the primacy of the Divine Worker from whom we gain our image bearing status and commission. It’s really quite fascinating—everyday you get up, at every point throughout your day, even as you sleep, the Lord himself is working for you.
There’s a great picture of this when David seeks to build God a house (1 Chronicles 17). God essentially turns it around and says, “It is not you who will build me a house… I declare to you that the LORD will build you a house” (v. 4, 10). And we see it in the words of Christ, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
Since our work is a reflection (or ought to be) of what God is doing, it’s right that we should ponder all the ways God is at work for us everyday. If you are living in open rebellion against God and his commandments, God is at work to bring about your judgment and destruction. If, on the other hand, you are hid in Christ, the Ark of God’s mercy, God is relentlessly at work for your eternal joy (Romans 8:27-28).
He went to the cross for you, he prays for you now, he stands by you and helps you in your waywardness and frailty, and he sends his angels to protect you (Hebrews). The Father comforts you in every affliction (2 Cor 1), sends his Spirit to you for consolation and strength in the truth (John 14), and to comfort your heart with the sure promise of his love. God is at work for your joy in all that you face.
So before you lift a finger today, stand in awe of all of this. Let it fill you with the kind of grace that fuels godly living and heavenward satisfaction. Behold your God, for his steadfast love is better than life (Psalm 63:3). Taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8-10).
As a final thought and example for us all, I point once again to my friend Davin. He is marked out for us in rich and full color because of his hope and his deeds—he considered God able to raise him from the dead, and the joy of being with God as better than his own life. He died of cancer while holding on to a superior taste for Christ’s glory. Those are some of the things he did. Breathtaking, amazing, sobering.
So where does a cruciform, lay-down-your-life-for-Jesus, count-suffering-as-joy, heroic kind of life come from? It’s no surprise that one of Davin’s favorite books was The Cross of Christ, by John Stott. The subject matter is the work of Jesus at the cross. Everything Davin did found its epicenter in the vision of God’s glory he saw in Christ’s work here. He was what he beheld, namely, the God of Redemption, living and dying and working always for his joy.
Stop and stare. Behold the Christ. Consider.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. 2 Corinthians 3:18.