Doing the Work Assigned
A POPULAR song declares that the ‘lucky old sun has nothing to do but roll around heaven all day’. The sun has much more to do than lazily roll around heaven. The sun was made to work. It was created as a “light to rule the day”. (Gen. 1:16) It is earth’s furnace, supplying heat and making life possible. If the sun did no work, Ecclesiastes 1:7 would not be true: “All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.” Why not? Well, every second the sun lifts 16,000,000 tons of water vapor from the seas, which vapor becomes clouds that float inland and precipitate rain. Without the laboring sun the sea waters would not return to the rivers whence they came, and rainfall would cease. It is good for us that the sun does more than just roll around heaven all day.
The moon also works, being created as a “light to rule the night”. (Gen. 1:16) It is the power behind the tides. Sun and moon and stars perform a work of praise, as is indicated when we take a literal view of Psalm 19:1-4, AT: “The heavens are telling the glory of God, and the sky shows forth the work of his hands. Day unto day pours forth speech, and night unto night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes forth through all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”
The earth was made to work, to nourish and sustain life. It is not an idle body, but spins so rapidly that at the equator its surface travels over a thousand miles per hour. Thus we have night and day. Additionally, the earth whizzes in its orbit around the sun at a speed of 66,600 miles per hour, so tirelessly that year after year it completes this nearly 584,000,000-mile journey without varying its schedule 1/1000 of a second. If it failed to make this trip we would have no changing seasons. Fortunate for us that the earth does not hang idle and motionless in space.
And when man was put upon the earth, he was not assigned to a dreamy and indolent existence, as though idleness were the ideal state. When God made man He “put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it”. Additionally, with Eve he was to rear children, subdue the earth, extend Edenic conditions earth-wide, and rule over the other forms of earthly life. (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:15) Happily, God did not create man for a career of loafing. Idleness is a snare that leads to death.—Ezek. 16:49; 1 Tim. 5:13.
Even the lower animals perform useful service. To single out but one of these many services, what about the insects that pollinate plants and enable such green things to reproduce and bear fruit? Why, Jehovah God even uses one of these tiny lower creatures as an example in industriousness, saying: “Go to the ant, you sluggard, look at her ways, learn sense; for she has no leader, no foreman or chief, yet in the summer she provides her food, and gathers during harvest-days.” (Prov. 6:6-8, Mo) Have you ever seen an ant lying at ease basking in the sun? Rather, are they not always hustling energetically about their business?
Jehovah God the Creator works, and his work is perfect. (Deut. 32:4) He may have entered upon a sabbath after his work of creation relative to earth, but that this did not mean he became an idler in the universe is thereafter shown by Jesus’ words: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” When on earth Jesus said: “I must work the works of him that sent me.” When twelve years old Jesus was at work in his Father’s service, and years later he died a faithful worker bearing witness to Jehovah’s truth. (John 5:17; 9:4; 18:37; Luke 2:42-49) So zealous was Jesus in enduring in godly work that he became a model for Christians: “To this course you were called, because even Christ suffered for you, leaving you a model for you to follow his steps closely.”—1 Pet. 2:21, NW.
Christ Jesus gave the work assignment to his followers when he commanded them to be his witnesses and make disciples, and declared: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and then the accomplished end will come.” (Matt. 24:14; 28:19; Acts 1:8, NW) And as Christians work together as an organization, each one should stick to his individual assignment, realizing that Jehovah places each one as it pleases Him, and that all assigned services are essential. (1 Cor. 12:18-25) Recall that Satan coveted a loftier place than that assigned to him, to his downfall. Did not Miriam seek to exalt herself to a higher position of service, and suffer divine rebuke therefor? And when Korah rebelliously aspired to more prominence in Israel, did not the earth open up and swallow him? How much better was the attitude of his descendants centuries later, as expressed in the psalm for them: “I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (Num. 12:1-15; 16:1-3, 31-33; Ps. 84:10; Isa. 14:12-15) When one seeks to change his service assignment he forgets the theocratic principle expressed at Psalm 75:6, 7: “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.” Hence you should not covet and go after the work assignments of others. You should “stick to your work”.—1 Tim. 4:16, Mo.
Then we will be blessed. Then we will have success. The work God assigns us is the work we can do, by his grace and spirit. We cannot do the sun’s work, and lift 16,000,000 tons of water every second. We cannot move the tides, like the moon. We cannot light up the night sky as the stars do. Why, we cannot even do the work of little insects in pollinating plant blossoms! Nor for that matter can we do the theocratic work assigned to our Christian brethren. But we can by God’s grace do the work assigned to us in or under God’s organization; that is the work his spirit will help us to do. In that theocratic way we can ‘work out our own salvation’.—Phil. 2:12.
And when such salvation sees us delivered into Jehovah’s new world, we can enter upon blessed work assignments then. Anointed ones will reign with Christ in heavenly glory, while earthly servants will take up the work Adam and Eve abandoned in disobedience, namely, filling the earth, subduing it, beautifying it, and exercising loving dominion over the animals. Then men will “long enjoy the work of their hands”.—Isa. 65:22.