Harry’s job in the cobbler’s shop was to pound leather for shoe soles. He would cut a piece of leather to fit, soak it in water, and strike it with a hammer until it was dry. Harry asked his boss if he could simply attach the soles while they were wet. But his boss, a believer in Jesus, knew that Harry’s easier method would result in an inferior shoe. He explained that just as some are called to be pastors, he was called to make shoes. Thus, he sought to always do his work with excellence for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).
This man’s love for his work points to who God created us to be.
The first two chapters in Genesis describe God’s creation as “very good” (Genesis 1:31), but human beings as “in God’s image”—given unique characteristics of God Himself (Genesis 1:27).
One aspect of being created in God’s image is that we have authority over the created world to manage it with our work. As the psalmist wrote, “You made [human beings] only a little lower than [yourself] and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them charge of everything you made” (Psalm 8:5-6). Genesis describes Adam placed “in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it” (Genesis 2:15), and how God commanded Adam and Eve to “fill the earth and govern it” (Genesis 1:28).
Unfortunately, Adam and Eve’s disobedience has caused all humans to have a distorted image of God, including the failure to reflect Him accurately in their work. But through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we can be restored to our intended purpose. As one pastor put it, if work is how we imitate our Creator, then, as stewards of God’s creation, “We are to receive the world as a gift, touch it with our labor, and offer it back to God in thanks and praise.”
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Genesis 45:1-28
Read 1 Corinthians 15:56-58 and think about how salvation in Jesus affects our work as image-bearers of our Creator God.
In what ways, as God’s image-bearers, can we represent Him in our workplace? What does it mean for you to glorify God in your work?