Summary: How we connect with God and the rest of creation through the works of our own hands.


Reconnecting Through Work


SCRIPTURE READING: Genesis 1:20-31, 2:15-17

20 And God said, "Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens." 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

24 And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds." And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

27 So God created man in his own image,

in the image of God he created him;

male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." 29 And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Genesis 2:15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." ESV


This is the 6th and final message on a series of talks on reconnecting; reconnecting with God, with each other and with all creation. This talk is about two aspects of the theology of work (labor).

A. The connection between work and the earth and food.

B. How work connects us relationally to God and each other.

We just did our national day of thanksgiving, which, if I understand it right, is supposed to be a time to raise our thanks before God for blessing the work of our hands. So let’s look very briefly at what is often billed as THE FIRST AMERICAN THANKSGIVING

Two men, William Bradford and Edward Winslow, were there and we have their first hand accounts of some of details of the events of Autumn 1621 in the Plymouth colony. Here is an an excerpt from one of Winslow’s letters sent to loved ones in England.

"Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruits of our labor. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which we brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you [were] partakers of our plenty."

I love that phrase; “partakers of our plenty.”

But think about it. The Pilgrims knew that if they didn’t work with their hands, and if God didn’t bless that work, they would actually die of starvation over the winter. Half of them had died the winter before from the effects of malnutrition and starvation which came upon them from arriving when it was already late in November. And now, about 9 months later Winslow is wishing that his friends and family in England could come and “partake of our plenty.”

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