Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
The decline of a Biblical or Kingdom work ethic is rooted in a lack of understanding of the dominion mandate given man at Creation and the rejection of Jesus as Lord over all of life. Our work can be directed toward God or something else. The biblical work ethic begins by doing work as unto the Lord or working for the Lord, not merely for oneself, your employer, your family, or money. Colossians 3:23 says, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. God did not create man to work unto himself or work disconnected from God’s authority over man. Work apart from God’s rule and revelation of His purpose for it is what causes work to become an idol or activity without purpose. The original mandate was to work unto the Lord. If man would have been faithful to that mandate fruitfulness, increase, and dominion would result.
The mandate from Creation in Genesis 1:26-28 to be fruitful, multiply (increase), fill the Earth, and to subdue it is at the heart of God’s purpose for work. It is a part of taking dominion over God’s creation. After the mandate He put the man in the Garden to dress (cultivate) and keep it Genesis 2:15. From God’s mandate we can conclude that:
- Work is being fruitful.
- Work is causing increase (multiplying). (Multiplying and increasing is not just procreating to populate the Earth).
- Work is taking dominion.
We can do the work as unto the Lord, not just for the supervisor or boss, even when it is not the most satisfying or fulfilling. Instead of viewing work as a curse, an unavoidable necessity to be fulfilled with minimal effort, the Christian duty is expressed by Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” A positive attitude can make the dreariest job less of a burden. It can also help to bring joy to fellow workers who despise their work assignment.
An attitude of gratitude for the opportunity to work and for the strength to do the work is contagious. We should never fall into the negativity attitudes of the world concerning work. And the Christian must never forget that he or she represents Christ in the workplace. Not only is work honorable and God-ordained, it is also a vehicle for reaching the world for Christ, as commanded in the Great Commission. The Christian should take Christ with him into every area of his life, and the work area that consumes nearly 25 percent of a usual week should be no exception.