We live in a fast-paced, get-it-done, work-harder era. There is pressure to get somewhere faster, produce more at work, be involved in multiple activities, and more. Why do we feel the need to work so hard? Let’s go back to the beginning of Creation; maybe we can find some clues there.
When Adam and Eve were first created, they lived in Eden, a garden full of plants and trees with abundant food and wonderful rest in a perfect creation. Adam and Eve didn’t have to work for their food, it was given to them. God created nature in such a way that all of creation worked together: the trees and plants produced their fruit generously, and the animals lived at peace with humans. But something changed when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. They no longer lived in harmony with all of creation; there was discord and struggle.
In Genesis 3, we read the curse given to Adam and Eve due to their disobedience:
“…the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made.” Genesis 3:17-19 (NLT)
There is this innate struggle between humans and creation, between humans and God. As we work hard to “scratch a living” from the earth, we also work hard to restore our broken relationship with God.
We naturally fall into one of two categories: 1) someone who works hard or 2) someone who tends to be lazy. Though the struggle is real! For some the struggle is too much, and the result is the opposite of working hard; others swing too far into hard work and it consumes them.
Here is the problem with both: We fall into our own way of “working hard” instead of surrendering to God and His plan for us. We think by our own sheer will and determination, by our own strength, by our own accord, we can reverse the curse of the Garden of Eden and find our own way to be at peace with God and creation. But that is not God’s plan. His plan is for us to surrender to His will and allow His power to be our source of strength. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” On the seventh day of creation God rested (Genesis 2:2). We are called to trust in God, to be still and know Him, to follow His example and take times of rest. Do you take time to be still before God, to listen to His voice and allow Him to work in you? Do you take time to rest, to honor God with caring for your body?
The struggle is real – humans versus creation – either to work too hard and depend on our own strength, or to work too little because the task seems too overwhelming. But the struggle has already been overcome through the work of Christ. Seek Him first, lean into His power. He is your Creator, after all.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20