Our Daily Work – Our Vessels of Blessing


Our Daily Work – Vessels of Blessing

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to WORK it and KEEP it.”

(Genesis 2:15)

This weekend (April-14/15-2013) marks the one year anniversary of my father’s passing onto heaven. This week I am reminded of the fact that as one generation passes away, another generation receives the “baton” to take care of this world. As I reflect on times when my dad was alive, I am reminded of the work of Professor Sir Robert Edwards, who died a couple days ago. Sir Robert Edwards was the pioneer of in-vitro fertilization, of what came to be called “test tube babies.”

I remember the day when I found out about the world’s first “test tube baby” – I was in Malaysia and I was reading the “New Strait Times” (a local newspaper) in the morning… I found out that through the immense dedication and hard work of Sir Edwards and his team, the world’s first test tube baby was born! It had taken ten years from the first breakthrough; a fertilized embryo created in the laboratory, to the first child to be born from the technique, Louise Brown was born in 1978 – the world’s first test tube baby!

Although towards the end of his life Sir Edwards received a Nobel Prize, earlier in his life he faced tons of criticism in the initial stages of his pioneering work. People conjured up fears of the anti-Christ and of end-times, and fears of Aldous Huxley’s brave new world and the manufacture of human beings as if they were machines. There were religious groups everywhere, including me at that time who saw him as trespassing into the sacred mystery of life itself, of “playing God.”

However, over the years as I began to study and live into the truth of Christ as the way, the life and the truth, I began to see Sir Edwards’s contribution very differently. It was actually a blessing to this world! From our Genesis “Creation Mandate” (Genesis 1:26-31) – to be “God’s partners in the work of creation” – I saw Sir Edwards work of vitro fertilization as responding to God’s invitation to become, in the ancient rabbinic phrase, “God’s partners in the work of creation” in a particularly healing pathway.  The “Creation Mandate” (Genesis 1:26-31) calls humanity to be stewards over God’s creation, and it includes a full range of work experiences from farming to human genetic engineering, from technology to homemaking.

The goal of Christian mission is to make world fully human, not religious. Thus, as Christians, we are to be keepers of the earth, the family, culture, and civilization (Heb. 2:5-9; Col. 1:15-23; Eph. 1:21, 3:10).  Sir Edwards’s work of vitro fertilization reminds me of healing the plight of infertility in women of the Bible like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Hannah who longed for a child but were unable through natural means to have one. One of God’s greatest blessings is the gift of a child, which is precisely why I see Sir Robert Edwards’s vitro treatment of infertility as “sacred work” related to healing the wounds of a fallen world.

The Bible calls parenthood the most sacred task of all, which is why we think of God as our father, and all of us as his children. The world famous physicist, Stephen Hawking famously said that if we could only discover a unified field theory we would know the mind of God. Actually to come as close as we can to understanding God we do not need astrophysics or nuclear science. All we need to do is to become a parent. As one Jewish mom so aptly put it: “Now that I have a child I can relate to God much better. Now I know what it’s like to create something you can’t control.” Five million children have been born into our world thanks to Sir Robert Edwards’s work of vitro fertilization: five million gifts and blessings were brought into the world!

A Christian life is a progressive movement into the very Personhood of Christ Jesus (John 14:12), and this involves God’s grace in our daily human work. Thus, secular work as Christian mission is just as important as ministry within the Church. Christian work involves the mission of homemakers, nurses, doctors, plumbers, stockbrokers, politicians, farmers and innumerable others in the on-going mission of the Holy Spirit to our world today. Just like the work of Sir Robert Edwards who gave so many parents the gift of bringing new life into the world, we are called by the Lord to be a blessing to our world through our daily work in the marketplace and in our homes. Christian Mission is creative, redemptive, and restorative. It is participating in what God intended for Adam and his family through community building and co-creation (Gen.1:26-28, 2:15), what Christ did in the restoration of humanity (John 10:10), and the dawn of the Kingdom of God (Matt. 11) on this very earth. So let us work wholeheartedly knowing that the Lord can give us wisdom and grace to bring healing and hope to this world through our daily work!


Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: http://www.chiefrabbi.org/2013/04/12/thought-for-the-day-the-sacred-gift-of-life/#.UWgikjfCt8H

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________. Down-to-Earth Spirituality: Encountering God in the Ordinary Boring Stuff of Life. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003.

________. “Laity.” In The Complete Book of Everyday Christianity, ed. Robert Banks and Paul Stevens, 550-555. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997.

________. Liberating the Laity. Vancouver, BC: Regent College, 2002.

________. The Equipper’s Guide to Every-Member Ministry. Vancouver, BC: Regent College, 1992.

________. The Other Six Days: Vocation, Work, and Ministry in Biblical Perspective. Grand Rapids: William B Eerdmans, 1999