Women & Work

Work Fulfilled from Garden to City

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. – Revelation 21:1-2

Do you love a happy ending? All good stories involve main characters who wrestle through a problem and then find resolution at the end, usually with the bad guys being held accountable and the good guys living happily ever after. 

 

As humans, we were created to be satisfied with a happy ending because God is the ultimate storyteller whose story of redemption will itself end with all things coming together just as He intends. Even our work, though fraught with toil and hardship because of the fall, will one day have its own happy ending. 

 

Because of Christ’s work on our behalf, even the most mundane, seemingly unimportant work is transformed with a meaningful, kingdom-infused purpose. And that purpose is not only to earn us a paycheck or simply bring temporary, earthly benefits. Instead, God has something broader, more eternal in mind, of which you and I are a part.

 

Remember how this story of work began? In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were given the mandate to fill the earth with humans and to create a flourishing society (Gen 1:28). Today’s reading from Revelation 21 shows us the end of that story. What once began in a garden will one day be fulfilled in a prosperous, flourishing, righteous city, the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven.  

 

So we see that all of Adam and Eve’s labor and toil of building a society from scratch in the beginning was ultimately heading somewhere. Starting with just dirt, timber, and the raw materials of the earth, Adam and Eve and even you and I, will eventually bring about a thriving, heavenly metropolis in which righteousness reigns and whose sunlight is the Lord Jesus Himself (Rev 21:23). 

 

So your work today is actually meaningful. It not only demonstrates your active role in helping to fulfill the creation mandate here on earth that was given in the beginning, but it also serves as a shadow for the broader, spiritual story of all things culminating in the heavenly city that God will  one day bring about. It will be a city that echoes the perfection and flourishing of Eden yet more fully realized, more complete because of the Lamb of God who finished His work of redemption and ultimately brings all things to their rightful fulfillment, even our work.

Editors’ note: This article originally appeared on YouVersion.com as a devotional in the "Work Redeemed: A Theology of Work from the Story of the Bible" from Women & Work.

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