In Genesis, chapter 3, God explains to Adam that he’ll spend the rest of his life working the ground “in toil” and in the “sweat of your face”. What a shame. That destiny was not God’s original plan for Adam – it was the serpent’s counterfeit offer breaking bad. Sin separated Adam and Eve from God and got them evicted from the Garden.
Genesis 3:17-19 says, “Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.’”
It’s not a very optimistic picture; it sounds like work is a prison sentence to a lifetime of hard labor.
Thankfully we live in a new dispensation.
Jesus is the second Adam.
The first Adam brought death into the garden, along with the resultant curses.
Jesus then lived a sinless life, defeating death through the resurrection, providing a chance for our redemption, including in the important area of our occupation.
Our occupation can be redeemed for God’s purpose!
I’m purposely using “occupation” instead of “work”, “job” or “career”, because I like the added military flavor of the word. When I’m part of an “occupying force” it means I represent the winning side in a battle. Jesus conveys this in Luke 19:13. He tells the parable of the nobleman who, prior to departing on a trip “to receive for himself a kingdom”, “called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, ‘Occupy till I come.’”
The ruler wanted them to continue doing his business with the currency of his kingdom until he returned. Similarly, Jesus departed 2,000 years ago, expecting us to “occupy till He comes”. We’re to do His business with the currency of His kingdom until He returns to take His place as ultimate ruler.
What is the currency of Christ’s kingdom?
Currency represents value. We know a dollar is ten times more valuable than a dime. According to Jesus, in God’s eyes, a person is more like a dollar than a dime. “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26)
What holds the greatest value in God’s Kingdom?
We are created in His image. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), “in His image” (Genesis 1:27) and “being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). People are the “living currency” of His kingdom, like sparkling gems in His hands. As He deploys us on our mission to see lives transformed, His authority spreads throughout the culture. As people’s lives are transformed by His power being demonstrated through the Body of Christ, the overall currency of the Kingdom gains value.
Our value increases as we yield to His will, stepping away from counterfeit affections and false identities, and stepping into the God-given calling on our lives. Everything we do to help each other grow in our relationships with the Lord has redemptive value – more value than we’ll ever be able to measure in this life.
Hopefully, you are starting to see that “occupation” carries an authority beyond just “job” in that it implies we can be an occupying force for Christ in our culture – just by showing up for work! Instead of using physical force in a military sense, we carry His authority as the Body of Christ, His ambassadors who bring His message to the world through our words and actions.