The African Forum on Religion and Government (AFReG) calls on all Christians to increase our prayers in this era of COVID-19. This week, Tuesday, July 14, 2020, our theme is “The Dignity of Labor”.
The Dignity of Labor
The opening chapters of Gods revelation to mankind present Him as a worker. In Genesis 1, He creates order out of chaos, light out of darkness, form out of confusion and life out of lifelessness. The six days of commanding creation into being, are crowned with one final act, the creation of man. This time round, God creates differently; He stoops down to make man out of the dust of the earth. Not only does God make man with His own hands but we are told that He makes him in His own image and likeness and gives him dominion over all creation to manage as a steward. He gives the man a garden to manage. The Bible tells us that God looked at all that He had made and saw that it was good. Satisfied with His labor and not because He was tired, God rested.
This story, in Genesis 2, re-enacts the scene in chapter 1. Adam groups and classifies all living things by naming them. This was an incredible intellectual creative exercise of regrouping further what God had thrown together. Whatever he named them, that they became. And then, like his Maker, after this exercise, Adam still had to tend the garden! Whatever tending the garden meant, Adam would have got some dirt between his fingers just like God had got in making him. In the cool of the day, God would visit and they would review his assignments.
Some tentative conclusions out of these first two chapters of the Bible. First, work is God’s idea. Later in John 5:17, Jesus would say: “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I too am working.” Secondly, all work to sustain creation as God ordained it, is honorable before God. None is superior. The cleaner and the garbage collector are as important and necessary as the doctor and the scientist. Thirdly, it is God who determines where in the garden we should work based on the skills and talents He has assigned to us. This means that every human being must have equal opportunity for productive work. Paul will later say to the Thessalonians, he that will not work must not eat (2 Thess 3:10). We know it’s impossible not to eat so all must work! Fourthly, like our Creator, we must rest because we are satisfied with what we have accomplished. Sadly, we rest because we are tired. Because we are separated from the products of our labors, we do not get to benefit from the satisfaction of the fruit of our labors. Others profit from what we produce and we are often not compensated fairly. Finally, as stewards, we are accountable to God who assigned us to the tasks we do. Paul will later say, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). Honest work, in whatever form, makes us like God. It sustains His creation. It serves His people and it glorifies Him. His command is: Occupy till I come (Luke 19:13). May Africa be found working!
Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.
Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
you his servants, the descendants of Abraham, his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.
He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth.
Forgive us Lord –
- Where we have shunned the work you have assigned us or not done it honestly
- Where we have done work for any other reason other than to bring you glory
- Where we compared the work we do to others and allowed feelings of inferiority and inadequacy to creep and cause us not give our utmost for your highest praise
- Where we are not thankful for the opportunity you have brought our way to serve you through work in the area of our assignment
Thank you Lord that we are sufficiently provided for, guided and enabled to do the work you have for us because:
- We are your workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which You prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
- You work in us both to will and to do Your good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)
- You are able to make all grace abound in us, so that having all sufficiency[a] in all things at all times, we may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
- Thank You that our labor for the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58) and for the reward promised for what we do. (Revelation 22: 12)
Lord, may we always give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord and excel in every good work.
Time is of the essence and night comes when no man can work, so help us Lord to redeem the time. Keep us from slothfulness and procrastinating. May we work diligently as unto the Lord always.
Help us to have the right work-rest balance, and to be good stewards of our bodies so they can serve us for the length of time You have ordained for us to be on earth.
As we work on putting together a new series of Webinars, we pray for God’s leading in identifying the right speakers. We pray that God would superintend over every detail of each Webinar. We pray that our engagement through these Webinars will be fruitful and deeply impactful to those who will participate and especially to the young people.
Pursuant upon the Lord’s example and in obedience to Him, we declare as an African people on the continent and in the diaspora that:
- WE ARE CO-WORKERS WITH CHRIST (1 CORINTHIANS 3:9a) & WE HONOR HIM WITH HONEST AND DILIGENT LABOR.
- WE WORK AS UNTO THE LORD, BRINGING GLORY TO HIM IN EVERYTHING WE THINK AND DO. (1 CORINTHIANS 10:31)
- WE COMMIT OUR WORK TO LORD AND HE ESTABLISHES OUR PLANS. (PROVERBS 16:3)
- THE FAVOR OF THE LORD IS UPON US, AND HE ESTABLISHES THE WORK OF OUR HANDS. ((PSALM 90:17)
- WE DERIVE DIGNITY FROM BEING ZEALOUS, FERVENT IN SPIRIT, SERVING THE LORD. (ROMANS 12:11)
- WE EAT THE FRUIT OF THE LABOR OF OUR HANDS, WE ARE BLESSED AND IT IS WELL WITH US! (PSALM 128:2)