“I don’t care if they have a good work ethic, they are illegal aliens and they should go back to where they came from.” This was the caption of a political cartoon that appeared a few years ago on the day before Thanksgiving. It showed two Native Americans carrying a pole with a dead turkey on it towards a table where Puritans were seated waiting to have dinner with the tribe. The humor behind this cartoon depended on the readership possessing knowledge of the so-called, “Puritan Work Ethic”. Yet, despite our familiarity with the stereotype of the “Puritan Work Ethic”, followers of Jesus frequently seem conflicted regarding how we should view work. Is it a blessing or a curse? Is it a duty or a privilege? Do we work to live or live to work? Do we sacrifice “being” by “doing” (working)?
... This week we will begin at the beginning— in Genesis. For here is where our understanding of work frequently gets distorted. In fact, it is here that work gets a “bad name” as many followers of Jesus believe that work is the result of the Fall — human sin— that begins in Genesis 3. Let’s see if that is true… and then let’s reflect on work in light of God’s Dominion presence and promise.