Growing up, all I ever wanted to do was business. I was drawn to the creativity of business – making and marketing a new product, designing a building
or structuring a deal, while simultaneously creating jobs
that never existed before. Many of my friends, however, saw
work as a burden – a necessary evil to allow us to do what
we want and buy what we want.
I became a Christian later in life,
after 20 years in the business world.
As I started to explore the Christian faith, one of my first areas of
concern was the role work and
business played in the Christian
understanding of life. I was reluctant to become a Christian because
I thought churches taught only that
poverty is good and wealth is bad. This did not sound
enticing to someone who had made work and business
priorities in life.
As I studied the Bible looking for a response to my
concern, I always seemed to come back to Genesis. The
first book of the Bible is important because it relates God’s
original intention for creation. I found ideas that helped
me in each of the first three chapters.
In the first chapter we are told God created the world
(Genesis 1:1), which makes Him a creator, a maker, a producer. He also created man and woman in His own image
(Genesis 1: 27), giving us an innate creativity. He backs this
up through the first mandate we are given, which is to “be
fruitful and increase in number” (Genesis 1: 28). He calls
us to recreate and reproduce.
The second chapter lets us know God rested on the
seventh day (Genesis 2:1– 2). God is a worker who rested,
so being made in His image we too are workers who are
called to rest. Interestingly, we are not called to work as
an afterthought or as a result of the Fall. Instead, we learn
that before we were even created God intended man to
work the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:5b). In His second
mandate for us, we are also told, “The LORD God took the
man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and
take care of it” (Genesis 2: 15). God’s original intention for
us was to actively participate in His creation, not only by
Businesspeople are called to do more
than make money.
helping to build it up, but also by taking care of it.
It is not until the third chapter that work becomes a
problem. It’s only after Adam and Eve disobeyed, causing
separation from God, that both childbearing (related to the
first mandate) and work (related to the second) became
difficult (Genesis 3: 16–19). God did not curse procreation
or work, but instead cursed childbearing and the ground,
only then making them painful and toilsome.
In a fallen world work has indeed become more difficult. We live in a materialistic and goal-oriented society
in which the accumulation of wealth is often seen as the
primary objective and benchmark to success at work and
But God has given us the gift of work as an opportunity
to participate in His creation. We
should therefore seek to understand our vocational calling and to
put in 100 per cent of our effort to
live it out. For most of us that won’t
be in paid Christian ministry, but
will be at home or school, in the
workplace or in professional activities – and we should embrace
that. Paul told us, “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” (Colossians 3: 23–24).
So my friends weren’t quite right in their view that
work is only a burden. We are created for work and stewardship and we glorify God by doing it the best we can
with the gifts and abilities He has given us. Although being promoted at work or launching a new product can be
good worldly priorities, our ultimate priority should be
our relationship with God.
It was disobedience and pride that separated us from
Him, but through the blood of Jesus and the work of the
Holy Spirit we can be reconciled with God. We should
always strive to build that relationship. We can’t enjoy Him
on Sunday and leave Him at home on Monday morning.
Every day we should work as ones wanting to hear Him
say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have
been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of
many things. Come and share your master’s happiness”
(Matthew 25: 23). FT
STePHen DeKUyPeR is a chaplain
for King-Bay Chaplaincy in Toronto
BusinessMatters n BY s TePhen DeKUYPeR
I was reluctant to become
a Christian because
I thought churches taught
only that poverty is good
and wealth is bad.