One year ago today, my father, Charles Hunter, passed into eternity. I’m not sure what to call this day. In fact I wasn’t even sure how to feel today. It doesn’t seem right to be overly emotional about it – that’s not how he and my mom raised me. I went through the day without mentioning it to anyone. Then I was given a timely reminder. My brother, sister and I were texting each other this evening. My sister asked if we were okay. Before I could answer, my brother sent a text saying, “I went to work today.” I responded, “Me too”. His next text was even better. “I’m going to work tomorrow”. His 3rd text drove the point home. “I went to work yesterday”. Now, you may be thinking this is awfully strange. But I say this was exactly what my Dad stood for. At his funeral, I described 2 things that were important to him…work, and faith. He wasn’t one to sit around feeling bad about things. He trusted God, and he got up each day determined to work – as hard and as much as he could. Even when his health worsened, he refused to allow things to stop him. He rose early to pray, and then found some work to do. My brother, in his own succinct manner, epitomized this in his text messages.
But this isn’t just a sentimental moment for me. My dad exemplified a foundational truth that God has revealed to us in His Word. Faith and Work are two things that are integral to our purpose on earth. In Genesis 2:15, it says, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” The fourth commandment given to the Israelites was, and I paraphrase, work for 6 days, then rest on the 7th. (Exodus 20: 8-10). So from the very beginning, God has expected man to work. The reality is, work is how God expects us to spread His influence throughout the earth. In the first couple of chapters of Genesis, we learn that God placed Adam in a limited spot on the earth, called the Garden of Eden. God created this place and made it beautiful. It was ideal for man because it had everything he needed. Then God instructed Adam to multiply and fill the rest of the earth and subdue it. (Genesis 1:28) You see, the earth outside of the garden was not ideal. But God’s plan was for Adam, through his work, to make the rest of the earth like the garden. He was to cultivate the rest of the earth. (Genesis 2:5, 2:15, 2:18, 2:23).
The point here is, that we are to exercise our faith (dependence on God’s Word and His ways) in our work, to cultivate the earth. By exemplifying our faith and fidelity to God in our work, we spread His influence. The Bible is full of principles like honesty, integrity, diligence, service, patience, perseverance, self-control, kindness, wisdom and knowledge. These principles, when we apply them, lead to success in all that we do. Imagine the impact that we can make on the world if we faithfully live by these principles. Imagine how we can prosper and influence people at work by applying these to our how we work. This is no magic formula for prosperity. This is no deeply spiritual platitude. This is what my father taught me. Trust God, live right, and go to work.