Recently in our Adult Learning Centre we watched the video, “The Florist’s Story.” It’s only a couple of minutes long but I’d highly recommend it. I suspect many people share her feelings. In her mind, she’s “just a florist” and feels that it’s “a silly way to spend your life.” She wishes she was good at other things and could really make a difference like a doctor or a missionary. Almost as a metaphor for her life, a man pushes past her in the hallway with some boxes and brushes her aside, oblivious to her presence. The society around her sees her role as she sees herself – mostly irrelevant. But through a series of vignettes we see the impact that a woman with a love for flowers can make as she does her best to make them beautiful. We see how her bouquets of flowers express thanks and celebration and mourning. We see her flowers give voice to people’s comfort and sympathy and love. And when the video ends, we desperately want her to see what a difference she makes. That perspective however can only be seen through God’s eyes.
It’s easy to reserve our Bible for things like church and morality and fail to think Christianly about our work. But as we look at the Scriptures we’re reminded that work is God’s idea. It’s one of the good gifts that He gave Adam and Eve in the garden. It’s one of the joys of paradise.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. - Genesis 2:15
While sin made work more difficult, it never ceased to be a privilege. God could have done the work of developing and sustaining this world by Himself, but He wanted us to share in it. Because of sin, work has been turned into a means of comparison and self-worth. People misuse work to determine their relative prestige or value. But there was no comparison in the garden. Adam and Eve found significance in their work because it was given them by God. When they watered a flower, there was a privilege in the conviction that it was God’s flower they were watering. And there was a healthy pride in understanding that it was God they were doing it for.
When we work we express part of our design as humans. The Bible reminds us that we were created in the image of God and given authority over the creation that He made.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” - Genesis 1:27-28
So when we work, we’re imitating our heavenly Father. And so our work takes on the greatest significance when we work the way God does. God never worked for a paycheque. He didn’t work to “get ahead.” He didn’t work to prove His worth. God worked to display His glory and to bless His creation. When we make the world a more beautiful place through flowers or art or music, we glorify God and bless people. When we feed and care and teach those who can’t care for themselves, we’re imitating God and loving our neighbour. The farmer who harvests the food, the truck driver who delivers the food, the grocer who sells the food, the manager who hires and organizes the people, and the computer technician who supports the process, all fulfill God’s design that we imitate Him in tending and caring for this world.
As you start your work today, find your significance in the One who gave you that work, whether you get paid for it or not. Do it for Him. Imitate Him in what you do. Do it with care and excellence and integrity to express your gratefulness to Him and your love for those He created. As we do, our work can feel a little more like the gift of paradise that God intended it to be.
In awe of Him,