In the Bible we read of God's acts, but we don't often read of His thought process and rationale behind the acts. Being privy to the "why" behind God's "what" is rare. Yet in Genesis 1, we see God's deliberative thought process behind the creation of human beings, and it's mind-boggling!
What on earth was God thinking when He created human beings? What purpose did God have in mind for us? What role did He intend for us to play?
In Genesis 1:26-28, the Trinity confers: "Let us make man...and let them rule...," followed by this human-targeted directive: "Fill the earth, and subdue it."
Wow! We were created for the role of governing over God's stuff on Planet Earth! Not only governing over fish and fowl, but over electricity, wind, minerals, trees and waterways. Sound waves, laser beams, silicon and Teflon. This is our God-given responsibility and mission!
Can this really be God's intention for us? Can it really be this practical? This concrete? This...well...down-to-earth?
Sometimes we're oblivious to the obvious. The Bible tells us God has a wonderful plan for our lives, and His plan is that we govern rightly over the planet! Some over animals, some over vegetables. Some over water, some over air. Some over wood beams, some over gold.
Chuck Colson summed it up this way: "On the sixth day, God created human beings and commanded them to pick up where He left off."
Who rules Planet Earth? News flash! God gave us the job:"...let them rule..." And this requires all sorts of work! Some may think God gave the job to Satan at the Fall, but the First Commission was not rescinded when sin entered the world. While the Fall makes our assignment more difficult, Earth-Tending remains our purpose, privilege and "glory." See Psalm 8.
Governance over God's stuff in God's way is the first principle of theology of work. This embeds the First Commission into the Great. When we "observe all that Christ commanded" [see the Great Commission of Matthew 28], this "observation" surely takes place at work, where we spend the bulk of our waking hours, right?
We are here to occupy, and this requires occupations: from fish farming to politics, plumbing to neurology, longshoreman's labor to agronomy. In a fallen world it requires pastors, missionaries and social workers, too. But the former occupations are as much "God's work" as the later.