One of the first things God did with Adam, the model man, was give him a job. Genesis 2:15 says God put Adam “in the Garden of Eden to dress and keep it.” This was before sin entered the world so work is not a result of sin or an unfortunate reality of life. Instead, it is a fundamental and key aspect of manhood. Even Jesus, though his main purpose was to be the Savior of the world, held down a job as a carpenter. There is no room for laziness in true manhood. Paul even says in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 “the one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
While we live in a society that does not always make it possible for men to have jobs, a real man must be determined and willing to work and provide for his family. This does not mean he must make more money than his wife. If the wife works, she may simply choose a more lucrative career than her husband. But it does mean that real men don’t look for a woman to take care of them. As boys, our mothers take care of us, but when we become men we are to be committed to taking care of our wives and children. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 5:8 that “if any (man) provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.”
There are three main purposes of work. The first is to glorify and serve The Lord (Colossians 3:23-24). In working, we are following in the footsteps of our Heavenly Father, who worked so hard in creating the world that he rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2-3). The second purpose is to provide for our families. Just as God provides for us, we are to provide for our wives and children (Ephesians 5:25-28). The third purpose of work is to better the earthly experiences of others, society in general, and ourselves.
In Genesis 4:20-22, we read that God gifted Jabal, Jubal and Tubalcain in ways that enabled them to advance society and help mankind progress. Jabal became the first herdsman. Jubal was a legendary musician, and Tubalcain invented metalworking, one of the most significant advancements in human history. This scripture shows us that God not only calls, anoints and gifts us in “Christian pursuits” but also in secular arenas. God anointed Jabal and Tubalcain to excel in “secular” careers that would improve society and the lives of men. We must seek God to find out what he has anointed us to do as a career and then prepare ourselves to fulfill our purpose through training, education, hard work and other means.
Finally, we as Christians should be among the hardest working people in the world; for we are working not merely for men or for a paycheck but for the Almighty God. How we carry out our work, how we carry ourselves at work, and the quality of the work we produce all reflects on our God. Just as the performance of an athlete who endorses a product (e.g. Nike, Adidas, McDonald's) can either promote or discredit the company, our work performance can do the same for the God we claim to represent. That's why Paul said in Colossians 3:23, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord...''
I. Work is not the result of sin but rather an integral part of manhood
A. God gave Adam a job before sin entered the world, before the Fall
B. Work is not an unfortunate reality of life but rather it is part and parcel to manhood
1) Even Jesus worked as a carpenter
C. While unemployment, racism and a poor economy can be obstacles, real men must be willing to work. We are negligent in our duties as a man and as a Christian if we are not willing to work
1) 2 Thessalonians 3:10 - "The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.''
II. The Purpose of Work
A. To glorify God
1) We are created in God's image. God worked in creation, so much so that he rested on the seventh day. (Genesis 2:2)
B. To provide for our family (wife and children)
1) 1 Timothy 5:8 - "If any (man) provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.''
2) To better the earthly experience of ourselves, others and society in general
a) Genesis 4:20-22 - God gifted these three men in ways that enabled them to enhance society and help mankind progress
- Jabal's job as a herdsman advanced civilization
- Jubal's gift of music entertained mankind and brought joy to men's hearts
- Tubalcain's "invention'' of metalworking was one of the most significant advancements in human history
C. God calls, anoints and gifts us not only to work in "Christian'' pursuits but also in "secular'' careers
1) Genesis 4:20-22
II. Christians should be hard workers. We work for the Lord, not merely for men.
A. Colossians 3:23-24 - "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.''
I. How can we know or figure out what type of work/job God has called us to do (Genesis 4:20-22)?
II. Do we grow up in our communities with the proper attitude toward work?
III. How can we in the Black and Latino communities increase our employment/work rate? What do we need to do as communities?
IV. How can we teach/train our young men to value work?