Over the last few days we have been talking about food and work. God has provided us richly all things to enjoy and he has given us all sorts of food as part of his good gifts for our enjoyment. He has also given us strength to carry on meaningful work. We discovered that God gave Adam work to do even before sin entered the world and so work itself is not part of the curse.
How does this teaching about food and work fit into the big worldview picture we framed for you earlier? Let’s review some of the key points.
- God created the world for his pleasure and glory.
- His allowing of sin somehow ultimately demonstrates his glory by demonstrating the contrast between God and that which has its source in evil.
- Now and through all ages we are a demonstration of the glory of God to other human beings and principalities and powers.
- There is a contrast between good and evil, light and darkness.
- This demonstration of contrast highlights God’s character and glory.
The Bible explains some of this contrast with passages such as Philippians 2:14-15 where we read, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” The purpose here is that God wants to demonstrate the difference between his children who trust him without complaint and the rest of the world.
Another example is in Jesus’ sermon on the mount where he admonishes us not to worry about our clothing and food. There he reminds us that the Gentiles seek after all these things. This is what normal people do. But his exhortation to us is to seek his kingdom first and let God take care of the other things.
So when it comes to food, we should eat and drink with thanksgiving to God and enjoy what he has made and provided for us. We should thank him for the manifold flavors and textures we get to enjoy. We should give him credit and acknowledge his love and care for us.
When eating with others, we should be careful not to chow down all the food before everyone else gets a chance. We men are notorious for having our plates half empty before our wife, who spent time making all of this, even gets a chance to sit down and enjoy the meal herself.
What was Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians when it came to the Lord’s supper? When he challenged the Christians there to examine himself, he wasn’t specifically challenging them to make sure there was no unconfessed sin. He was correcting their behavior of selfishly pigging out before some of the poorer folks had a chance to get any food! This kind of behavior does not glorify God nor show love for their brothers and sisters. It shows that they were not really discerning the meaning of the oneness of the body of Christ. What they were demonstrating to the world was not the picture of God that was pleasing to him and so he was not ultimately glorified in it.
When it comes to work, do the best job you can. Be an example. Don’t steal time or anything else. Demonstrate creativity, discipline, structure and orderliness. Always be thankful for the fact that you have a job, that you have strength to do your work and that God has given you the abilities, talent and mental capability to do the work you’ve been give.
These admonitions don’t just apply to employment. They apply to your housework and yard work as well. When you keep things picked up outside so that your home and yard look neat and clean, you demonstrate the glory of God. The same thing applies to the inside of your house. Is the way you keep your house worthy of God? In other words, does it look like God lives there? It should if you are a Christian. As a Christian you are a child of God and his spirit lives within you. God is orderly and creative and as his children we have those same traits.
When you drive by the home of someone with a beautiful yard and flowers, thank God and give him glory for his creation and for the presence of a person who has been made in the image of God who lives there.
The ultimate nature of sin is to be ungrateful for all God has provided. He has given us life and breath and all things (Acts 17:25). That means the clean water we drink, the hot showers we have, all the good food we enjoy, the fresh air and sunshine are all from his hand. Not acknowledging these things and being grateful for them is equivalent to assuming we have provided them for ourselves or that we have a right to them or that they are here by chance. As Christians, we need to demonstrate the glory of God by showing how we respond differently to all the blessings God has provided.