When God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden, He was given a job that was good. After the fall, his work became cursed. However, now you are called to a life of good work! Jesus bore a crown of thorns on his head as a sign that he bore the curse on the work of mankind. So, the work of your hands is now blessed! Continue reading an excerpt from Ashley’s book, Thorns, Barns & Oil Jars, as he explains in more detail the benefits of work:
According to James, refusing to do what the Word says creates deception in us (James 1:22). I’ve been there. At one time in my life, I remember God correcting me with the revelation that I was believing one of His promises but not doing what the Word said in order to receive it. I was expecting the promise to supernaturally “fall in my lap.” But that’s not how God’s promises work—they require active participation.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” – James 1:22
I once knew a man who found himself, like me, in a very dangerous place spiritually. He confessed the Word and believed that God would provide for his family, but he was an infidel Christian (1 Tim. 5:8). I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true. He was a “speaker” but not a “doer” of the Word. It got so bad that his family started living out of their car. They couldn’t even stay in the same parking lot for more than a few nights at a time. He came to me and said, “I just don’t understand why God isn’t providing for us.”
“Do you have a job?” I asked.
“Have you been looking for work?”
“What are you doing then?”
“I’m just waiting for God to provide,” he responded.
The Man in the Flood
It reminded me of the story about the guy caught in a flood. He climbed out on the roof of his house, and prayed for God to save him. Soon a boat came along and the driver said, “Can I help?”
“No,” the man replied. “God’s going to save me.” Then a rescue helicopter flew over. “We’ve come to save you!” the pilot shouted. “I don’t need your help. God’s told me He’s going to save me,” the man shouted back.
Another boat approached the man, but he waved them off. Before long, the man grew tired and couldn’t hold on to his roof any longer. He slid quietly into the water and drowned. In Heaven, he asked God, “Why didn’t you come? I thought you were going to save me.”
God said, “I sent two boats and a helicopter…”
God is a supernatural God, but He works in natural ways. We need to be careful that we don’t become so spiritual, so out-of-balance, that we miss what God is practically doing in our lives. Scripture tells us that God gives us the power to get wealth (Deut. 8:18) and that His blessing is without sorrow (Prov. 10:22). But it also says, “in all labor there is profit” (Prov. 14:23).
Did you know that God gave Adam work in the Garden of Eden? Before sin, before the curse, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Gen. 2:15, NIV). Work is a blessing from God. It wasn’t until Adam and Eve chose to sin that work became “toil” and began producing thorns and thistles.
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.”
After Adam’s sin, the land began bearing thorns and thistles. His work became hard and frustrating. He did the same amount of work, but now thorns hindered his progress, and he produced far less than before. No matter how hard he worked, he produced “barely enough” or “not enough.” And this trend of toil continued. Through Adam, work became cursed. Haggai 1:6 says, “You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”
Redeemed from the Curse
But praise God, Jesus changed that! Galatians 3:13-14 tells us that:
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
When the Roman soldiers made a crown of thorns and pushed it on Jesus’ head, blood ran down His brow like the sweat of a man toiling in the fields (Matt. 27:29). At that moment, Jesus exchanged His toil for ours. Now we work “as unto the Lord” (Col. 3:23) and God’s favor makes our efforts successful (Ps. 90:17). We’ve been redeemed from unprofitable, frustrating work. We are no longer cursed with painful, never-quite-enough toil. The work of our hands is blessed (Deut. 28:12). But if we don’t put our hands to something, how can God bless it? Work is the natural thing God uses to supernaturally provide for our lives.
A Testimony of Good Work
I work with a man who left his job in corporate America to help a ministry in Colorado Springs. When he first moved his family to Colorado, the ministry he came to help couldn’t support him. They didn’t have a position open or the means to open one for a guy they’d never met. So my coworker began volunteering. One day while he was putting gas in his car, the Lord spoke to his heart. He had been asking God how to provide for his family yet still obey His instructions to help this ministry. The Lord told him, “There’s work right in front of you.”
At 7-11, God?! You’re joking, he thought. He came from corporate America and felt 7-11 was well below his pay-grade, but he also knew he had heard from the Lord. So he did it. 7-11 hired him to cover the night shift at the worst hourly rate possible. His main responsibility was cleaning the slushy machine, but he did it “as unto the Lord” (Col. 3:23).
As this man continued to show up faithfully to work, he received promotion after promotion. Within three years, he became 7-11’s regional manager with 50 stores under his supervision! With each promotion, his pay increased until he was making more than he’d left behind in corporate America. His willingness to work opened the door for God to bless and promote him and eventually enable him to quit 7-11 and work full-time at the ministry he’d come to Colorado to help.
Thorns, Barns & Oil Jars
“Many Christians hold an unbiblical view of finances. I did. Do you? How you relate to money is paramount, regardless of how much you have or don’t have. I wrote Thorns, Barns and Oil Jars from my real life experiences with money over the last two decades. It explains practically how to position yourself to receive true lasting financial prosperity.”