Earlier this year, my daughter received a small part in a community theater production of The Little Mermaid. A very small part. Remember the seagull who thinks that a fork was a hairbrush? My daughter was one of his backup singers (also a seagull), and she had exactly one line: “Awk!”
She had worked on her audition monologue and song for weeks. Because she was one of the younger kids trying out for the show, I knew that she wouldn’t get a big role. I worried, however, about her reaction when she found out that her line – “Awk! – would take her as much time to memorize as it would to say. Would she be upset? Would she be angry? Would she want to quit the show entirely?
Her reaction? Utter rapture. As soon as she learned about the casting, she began practicing her “Awk!” endlessly – experimenting with different pitches, volumes, levels of screechiness. She was the most enthusiastic backup seagull I had ever seen, approaching every practice and the performances with tremendous excitement. And her energy was contagious. When I picked up her after the show, older kids cheerfully sang out “Awk!” whenever they saw her.
Watching my daughter approach her tiny role with such sheer joy, I began to wonder: Why don’t I have that kind of attitude toward my work? Continue reading Approaching Our Work with Joy
In Genesis, after God creates Adam (literally “the man”), he gives him work to do:
The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Genesis 2:15)
Note that this is before Adam and Eve’s sin of eating from the wrong tree. The Fall made work harder, but it didn’t create the work. In fact, God gives Adam two jobs: not only is he to be caretaker of the Garden of Eden, but he’s also the namer of the animals.
Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. (Genesis 2:19–20a)
This work, however, doesn’t seem to have a practical purpose. God had already provided for him through the Garden, as he makes clear from the instructions to eat from the trees that God had already planted. As for the names of the animals, in Genesis 1, God has shown himself to be pretty adept at language, speaking the very universe into existence. Surely he could have thought up names for pigs and horses on his own. Considering God’s omnipotence and omnipresence, he’s probably not delegating tasks to Adam that he’s too busy to address.
So what was this all about, then?
Adam was doing the work of God.
Continue reading Doing the Work of God