“Work isn’t to make money; you work to justify life.” — Marc Chagall

Genesis 2:15-17
Genesis 3:13-24
John 6:25-40 (esp. 28-29)

Two people chose not to believe. Life has been toil since. But not just in the physical and material realm.

Our fall incurred the curse of work. The earth resists us, and we labor for enough food to eat today. Tomorrow, we begin it again.

No day arrives when we say, “I have done enough. My work is finished.”

We always need more.

Work’s struggle appeared to fall on men alone, while women’s lives demanded another kind of work: pain in childbirth and a male world order. Today, many women seek freedom in competition with those men in multiple arenas. The curse extends.

Since the morning of time, we’ve worked. Doing so remains necessary. Yet Jesus unveiled the true nature of God’s work. He told us that belief is God’s great task for humanity. Because God has said he loves us, and that he meets our needs, we alone are not responsible for them. Believing this involves work from the very outset.

God told Adam and Eve that if they didn’t listen to him, they’d perish. They did, and we do. Through toil and the lie that we alone care for ourselves, we die every day. The struggle and isolation steal our life; we need his words as daily sustenance because we need his friendship, his company.

“Work to believe,” Jesus says. “Work to believe that God cares, speaks, and listens. You’ve worked mistakenly far too long, believing you’re alone. Come back to your original purpose, and walk with God once more. Believe him and in me, that we’re here and that we love you.”

A curse exists. It is toil, sweat and death. And all of them separate us from our maker. Oftentimes, we feel we know little else than this curse. Yet on a hill called Calvary, Jesus became a curse that we might walk away from ours.

The curse still tells us that we’ll work through sweat to eat bread from the ground. We’ll then die. Jesus tells us that he is the bread we really need. When we seek nourishment in him and his presence, we’ll begin to live. We’ll leave behind the fears that drive us to care for ourselves all our days. 

He tells us to believe in him, to believe this. No wonder he calls it the work of God.

What is your idea of God’s work?
Have you come to a place of believing that feels like labor?
What does believing look like from Jesus’ point of view?


© 2006