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Thorns, Thistles, and Your Work

Series: The Word Before Work Foundations
Devotional: 3 of 21
Published: April 18, 2018

To Adam [God] said…Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food.” (Genesis 3:17-19a)

After a particularly frustrating day at the office, it can be tempting to believe that work itself is a curse—a “necessary evil” and consequence of living in a fallen world. But that’s not at all what Scripture teaches. 

As we’ve seen over the past two days, God himself worked, thus giving great dignity to our work today. Then, he passed the baton of creation to us to work and “fill the earth” in his image. Genesis 1 and 2 show us that work is inherently dignified and good. Work was designed to be worship.

But—and this is a big but—sin messed everything up. As today’s passage makes clear, sin doesn’t just impact our souls and standing before God. It also impacts the material world and the world of work. Because of sin, our work has become “painful toil” as the “thorns and thistles” of fallen creation make our work frustrating and arduous.

Work is not hard because it is inherently bad. Work is hard because we still live in a fallen world.

But the promise of the gospel is that one day, Christ will “make all things new” (Revelation 21:5), including our work. That’s right—I am suggesting that we were made to work forever, including in God’s eternal kingdom. It is that truth we will explore more closely tomorrow.

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