Today’s reading is drawn from Genesis 1:28 and Ephesians 2:10.
After God created humanity, he gave them a series of commands: be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth, subdue it and have dominion over other living things. This call to cultivate the world and exercise dominion is often called the cultural mandate. As God’s image bearers, our vocation is to reflect his nature— as modeled for us in his work of creating— by bringing increased order, structure, vibrancy and flourishing to this world that’s so full of potential. God wants us to steward what he has lovingly given to us as a gift, to responsibly harness nature’s power and innovate for his glory and the good of all creation.
When we read that God rested on the seventh day, we shouldn’t take this to mean that creation was entirely finished or no longer in need of development. Rather, he made humans in his image to continue his work and bring creation to its God-given potential.
This mandate is not reserved for “elites”— politicians, pastors, entrepreneurs and so on. No, we all—no matter our rank, ethnicity, age or vocation—are called to continue God’s work in bringing order and vibrancy to our world. God has entrusted humans with the inordinate privilege of continuing his work of creation “to be God’s helper in executing to the end the blueprint for his masterpiece.”
This cultural mandate gives our work incredible significance, since it is meant to be an extension of God’s work in creation. Still, many of us do not sense that the work we perform each day has a significant meaning or purpose. Some of us even see work as torment and a curse, an obstacle to what’s really important: whether it be friends, family, hobbies—you name it. But the Bible says that work is good, and the cultural mandate reminds us that the work we participate in points to something far greater than ourselves, even if we can’t see the bigger picture. Sure, work is tainted now because of the fall, and we are incredibly limited. But as God’s image bearers, we work to contribute
to human flourishing and the development of the earth.
How does our work bring order and flourishing to your company or community? How does it contribute to the common good, the well-being of others and the improvement of the world?