30 Aug Sermon Recap | Theology of Work | Work in a Fallen World
In Genesis 3, we see that Adam and Eve’s sin leads to God’s curse on humanity and a broken relationship with God. This curse affects both men and women as it brings frustration to where God had meant for them to be most fruitful. This means that although our work will produce results and fruit, it will be a constant source of frustration for us. We also have to recognize the “futility of impermanence,” as very little of our work on Earth will matter in eternity. Although we are designed for work, our fallen world and the curse of humanity keeps us from reaping the benefits of work on Earth. Genesis 3 hints at what Romans 8 explains more fully— that God’s curse is in fact His mercy at work, and through His work there is hope in a future day of permanence and renewal.
1. Work is not only the job you have, but it’s also things like your marriage, spiritual growth, and parenting. What are the areas where you are currently doing the most work? How have you experienced “fruitfulness overlaid with frustration” when trying to complete this work?
2. There is a temptation to be discouraged by the “futility of impermanence.” Do you find yourself discouraged by the truth that much of what you accomplish through work on Earth will come to nothing? Why?
3. What is your initial view of God’s curse on humanity (Genesis 3:16-24)? While it is easy to view God’s curse as a contradiction to His love for us, we can see that the curse is actually an expression of God’s mercy in that it causes us to come to the end of ourselves and realize our need for God. How do you react in a situation where you become aware of your shortcomings? Do you allow your frustrations to point you to your need for God?
4. Work should be understood in the context of a world that is fallen into sin and under the curse that God has placed on it. In what area of work (relationships, job, disciple-making, etc.) do you find yourself needing a reminder of the fallen nature of man? Why?
5. Even though the Bible tells us what the world is like, do you find yourself “freaking out” when bad things happen? It’s easy for us to forget that the Bible warns us of what to expect, and instead we try to marginalize our frustrations with attempts to control. How does your ability to handle tough circumstances and struggles affect how you minister to others?
Thoughts to Consider
-It’s in the place where we were created to mirror unique God-like qualities that we will experience frustration overlaying and infecting our fruitfulness. We still have the ability to be fruitful, it just comes with a lot of frustration.
-The curse doesn’t just apply to Adam and Eve. It’s a curse that affects all of humanity. We must understand work and everything we do in the context of a world that is fallen into sin and placed under a curse by God.
-The curse, for all the difficulties it brings into our lives, is actually an act of mercy. Not only does it restrain and limit evil, it also keeps us from putting our hope in the God-like abilities we’ve been given and points us back to our need for Him. It shows us that our real problem is our estrangement from God.
-We shouldn’t be alarmed when bad things happen because that is part of living in a fallen world. We still grieve the circumstance, but we understand that all circumstances are part of what God is doing in the world.
-We are designed with a longing to see flourishing and productivity because eternity was planted in our hearts when we were made in the image of God. This longing and groaning that we experience is not the groaning of death, but instead the anticipation of the hope and joy that is coming.
“Work in a fallen world means our fruitfulness will be overlaid with frustration.”
“God’s curse on humanity points us back to Him.”
“The curse is a prelude to a greater blessing.”
“The fulfillment we crave and were created for is coming. Labor in that kind of hope.”
“Our hope is not in the fruit of our labors but in the New Heavens and New Earth.”
“Our fundamental problem is that we are estranged from God.”