The Eternal Value of Work

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(Note: I wrote this article and posted it on my blog before my book, Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession was published by WestBow Press in February 2018.  This critical topic was later included in the book.  I invite you to check it out.  This article was also published in the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics blog and the Coram Deo blog.)

We mentioned when discussing the Fall that work would be more difficult until Jesus returns.  So, what happens when He comes back, and Adam’s curse is no more, as it states in Rev. 22:3?

Here are some key points worth considering:

  • At the consummation of all things, Christ-followers and the earth will be fully redeemed (Rev. 21:1-5)
  • Many aspects of human work will continue in the New Jerusalem (heaven on earth) (Isa. 65:21-23)
  • It will include the best of human culture and achievements, past, present, and future
  • Examples: the wheel, Handel’s “Messiah”, food, architecture, roads, government, technology, etc.
  • However, there will be no more need for doctors, lawyers, counselors, or wheelchair manufacturers

Rev. 21:1-5 gives us a description of what to expect at the consummation, after Jesus returns and the judgment of Satan and his followers is complete.  You can see that contrary to popular belief, Heaven is not a place of disembodied spirits playing harps up in the clouds.  The New Jerusalem will come down to earth, where God will dwell for all eternity with those whose names are found in the Lamb’s book of life, where there will be no more death or sadness or pain.

Mike Wittmer, in Becoming Worldly Saints, reminds us that “God did not say, ‘I am making new everything!’ but rather ‘I am making everything new!’  He does not promise to make new things to furnish the new earth, but to renew the things that are already here.”

In Daryl Cosden’s book, The Heavenly Good of Earthly Work, he ponders, “Our sanctified imaginations can only suggest what we think God’s promise to make all things new might mean . . . There will be, no doubt, some specific products of our work that through judgment will be transformed and incorporated into the ‘new physics’ of the new creation.  I am quite hoping that Handel’s Messiah will be regularly in concert in the New Jerusalem.”

Wittmer suggests that Bach and Michelangelo will be there with plenty of time to create even better works.  (I don’t know what Bach will be composing, but I do know he will no longer be decomposing. . .)

This concept is critical to our theology of work.  Tom Nelson, in Work  Matters, states, “If our daily work, done for the glory of God and the common good of others, in some way carries over to the new heavens and new earth, then our present work itself is overflowing with immeasurable value and eternal significance.”

I am hoping this reflection brings a different perspective to what we do all day.

(Note: For more on this topic check out this article I wrote in September 2017.)

Russ Gehrlein

Master Sergeant Russell E. Gehrlein (U.S. Army, Retired) is a Christian, husband of 38 years, father of three, grandfather of four, blogger, and author of “Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession: A Biblical, Theological, and Practical Approach to the Doctrine of Work”, published by WestBow Press in February 2018. He received a B.S. in Mathematics from Colorado State University in 1980 and an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in 2015.  He is also a former junior/senior high school math and science teacher and youth pastor.  Russ currently works as a Department of the Army civilian at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

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