I’ve been thinking about work a lot lately. In the abstract, not my current job specifically.
I was chatting with a friend who recently had a kid. They’ve been having a hard time (par for the course) and was asking me when it gets easier. I told him my experience – right when you think you can’t take it anymore, it gets better. His response: we reached that point 2 weeks ago. I think their child was 3 weeks old at the time. That killed me.
He also mentioned how their experience made them take the curse of Genesis 3, the one that made women experience pain in childbirth a lot more seriously. True that.
Here’s my question though – how come we don’t take another curse in Genesis 3, the curse related to the man, as seriously? Namely, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.” Because it seems like we don’t take that seriously. It seems like people commonly think that we’re supposed to find jobs that are personally fulfilling. If we’re not fulfilled in our jobs, we assume we should be in different jobs. But does that jive with Genesis 3?
There are several consequences listed in Genesis 3. Man will die. We take that seriously. The serpent is cursed, there will be enmity between it and the offspring of the woman, foreshadowing Christ. We take that seriously. Women will experience pain in childbirth. We take that seriously.
So how come we don’t take the consequence that the ground is cursed seriously? That work is supposed to be, in some measure, hard? I was randomly reading a John MacArthur sermon on this and he explains that the curse of Genesis 3 is on man’s realm, his work. The words used literally mean miserable. Work, man’s domain, will be hard, says Genesis 3.
But that’s not what people seem to think, even Christians. They seem to think work is supposed to be inherently fulfilling, and if it’s not, it’s just the wrong job for you. Why?
I actually have some thoughts on this, a lot of it based on a great Tim Keller sermon I found, and I think we have our thinking on work reversed. But I’ll write about that later.