Last week we noted the Seventh Commandment as God’s basic design to reflect His image through faithfulness for godly unity in Christ. Even so, a relationship may only appear unified because there’s no visible conflict. The Lord calls us to glorify and enjoy Him in much more than quiet lives. The Eight Commandment in Exodus 20:15 and Deuteronomy 5:19 reminds us that He calls us to work.
I know. For most of us, even the word “work” conjures up images of stress, sweat, and frustration.
Yet, God’s intent for work has always been good: our productivity and joy through partnership with Christ Himself. As I outlined in the video on the Fifth Commandment, the pre-incarnate Christ (before Jesus took on human flesh) regularly walked with Adam and Eve in the garden. (Genesis 3:8) God’s plan was for them to follow Him into the as-of-yet unfinished world (Genesis 2:5-7) and replicate the paradise of living with God in Eden forever, teaching and helping future generations to do the same.
How does this relate to marriage? Maybe you know a marriage in which spouses do little-to-no work.
In cultures that glorify rest more than work, yet also emphasize materialism over relationships and individual pleasures over mutual love, people can quickly feel entitled, resistant to any personal sacrifice, and bitter toward others for not fulfilling their immediate desires. Does this sound familiar?
It’s the main plot or a sub-plot of virtually every current comedy. Why? The most effective comedy finds ways to vent our frustration or embarrassment over difficult truths. And the sad struggles for self that I listed above are only a few of the spiritual realities that pervade and surround most marriages.
For years, one of the many ways my parents have served others is working with a local government program that prepares and delivers meals to struggling families. A stipulation to receiving such care, however, is that there can be no one in the home who is able to cook. Can you imagine my parents’ dismay when some homes repeatedly had able young people meeting them at the door to receive their grandparents’ meals? Even the heart of Christ is to serve and not to be served. (Mark 10:45)
So, if God intended work to bless us, why is it so hard? Adam and Even chose (and we still choose) independence from God’s design. One way He disciplines (teaches) us is by difficult work to show us our need to depend on Him for real purpose, strength, and joy, like children with their good Father.
Consider the following discussion prompts before watching the video.
- Who should clean the kitchen and bathrooms in a marriage, and why?
- How are you working in His Body now, and what sacrifices are involved?
- Individually make a pie chart with five “slices” of your time: paid work, volunteer work, family work, personal rest, and “other”. Trade & discuss.
You can see other articles and the embedded videos in this series here.