In this modern society of ours, we do use words that are reflective of the things that we do. While the nature of the “work” changes, we still partake in activities and do different things. While it’s harder to say that we are actually doing things of ourselves given the advent of machines and more so the advent of collaboration that has taken hold in the workplace at the same time as feminism, language reflects the state of things. We tend towards using passive verbs instead of active ones, because they are closer to the truth. Then because of collaboration that extends way beyond our concepts we can understand, we use even more dubious words to describe the things we do. In essence, this is because the act of creation has been taken from us in real tangible ways. Our language that we use reflects this change.
In the end, we like to be creators, or at least to be able to point to something and say we had a hand in its existence. Even in a collaborative activity like a huge building, if we had a part in it, it’s easy to point at the finished product and say “my work is a reason why that building stands there”. Even in an activity like walking or bicycling, it is so much more rewarding in one’s base nature to say “I traveled to the next town over”, because your own effort got you there than to have driven there and claim the same thing. It’s rewarding in man’s base nature to be able to point to something tangible for our efforts. This creation nature is nothing that we should be surprised about, since we were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27). That God creates and works is evident in that chapter and all throughout the Scriptures.
Even before the fall, man was acknowledged to have this creator nature by God. God told them to “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.” (Genesis 1:28 KJV) And before the fall, God made a garden for the first man so he could dress it and keep it (Genesis 2:15). The fact that each and every person needs a meaning or purpose in work is self-evident. It is good for us to work and accomplish something.
After the fall, work became the means to provide for our existence and became a hard thing (Genesis 3:17-19), but work has always been a means of existence and identity for each of us. It’s not hard to stumble across actions aplenty all over Scripture. God’s actions, men’s actions, women’s actions. Everyone is doing, acting, creating. It can be said viscerally, that taking this away from someone is one of the worst things that could be done to a person. Everyone from the smallest child to the oldest person wants to be useful.
God in His infinite mercy realized that we needed something done for us that we couldn’t do ourselves. We needed to be saved from ourselves. As a part of the fall, everything about us became corrupted. We could still create by doing works, but we do good works and bad works. In the end, all of it is tainted because of our bad works, because of ourselves and our motives (Romans 3:22-24). God did a work for us through the person of His only begotten Son, and will continue to do work within us, changing us to be more like Jesus. Paul says it like this:
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10 NASB)
We always want to work for what we get, because it is in our nature. We are not one with our existence if we can’t point to something we have done. That makes it hard for us to accept anything that is given to us out of grace. Even gifts from others can be hard to accept if they are of any particular value. So many work hard to justify themselves through their works, but since our works are tainted they are no good before God. People will even justify themselves after the fact with the works mentioned in verse 10.
But God does recognize we need to create and have a part in things so again by His gift He gives us a garden to tend and keep up, like the first man. This is another act of grace in God, not any obligation that we are given, especially since God is all sufficient and could speak what He wants done into existence. But we should be thankful that we are given this chance. By faith (for it is the only thing that pleases God Hebrews 11:6), we get the chance to step out and do these things within the Kingdom of God by having God work through us (Philippians 2:13). By God working through us, these works are not tainted and are holy and pleasing within His sight. We are all given these things to do, not for the kingdoms of men that pretend towards God (for that is “serve us”), but for the Kingdom of God itself. Anything less is simply tainted make work.
It is not hard to stumble across actions, creations, and works in the New Testament, either. Depending on the translation you are looking at, you can find 40-50 separate actions all those in the church are called towards. We are meant to work and create as disciples of Christ. By grace, God gives us each a garden to tend and then are called into account for the results (Matthew 25:14-30). It’s not hard to see that being a follower of Christ is a very active daily pursuit, given a study of all those actions. It involves building up others, encouraging them, teaching them, admonishing them on the path towards the Lord. It involves bringing people to knowledge of the Lord at all stages of things. In fact, it’s not hard to study Scripture for very long (especially as a man), and see a very active Church that is exceedingly attractive to participate in.
But in the end, the nature of man is to take things, and Churchianity has no different goal in mind. It’s very heartbreaking to see what the Church was meant to be and then be treated to the same passivity, dubious nature, and “soft words” that we find in the world. We are saved to…congregate in a room for an hour, sit, and listen? Maybe sing a few words without any meaning? Go home, thankful that it is all over, and forget it as easily as a fever dream? Sure there will be people that will claim that you need to be “active” before the Lord when you do these things, but what activity do you really see going on? People will even redefine common words to justify such laziness (really to call it what it is). Love has been redefined in this drive – love is a verb and action, not a feeling.
By redefining God’s work as something only a few select Deified Ones get to do, is it any wonder that there are men who are frustrated? Is it any wonder that Churchianity is exceedingly unattractive to more and more? To truly belong in something we need to be able to take a part in it, to be able to create and work in it. The Father in His boundless wisdom has given each and every one of His children continual opportunities each and every day. How unfortunate is it that it is impossible for most to be as active as God would want within their brethren because a few people have chosen to eliminate those possibilities for power and control’s sake?