In the mundane day-to-day overload of work and school, busyness has established itself as a badge of honour. It is a carefully crafted connotation of “success” in a culture which has turned our attention to achievement and hard work apart from Jesus.

Work was designed for our enjoyment and fulfilment. But instead of deriving those, we instead feel the stress caused from overwork and burnout – a reflection of the distortion of God’s original intention of the life and joy given to us through Christ Jesus.

Well, if God wants me to rest and enjoy abundant life in Christ Jesus, why does He give me so much work?


Work was established before the fall of man. Genesis 1-2 record how God created the world when He placed Adam and Eve in a garden “to tend and keep it” (Gen. 2:15). Work was given before sin entered the world in Genesis 3). Therefore, work cannot be a result of the fall since it existed before the fall.

God created people in His image to be His co-workers in this collaborative effort to manage His creation for His glory. Authority and ability was given to us for the stewardship of His kingdom.

If God wants me to rest and enjoy abundant life in Christ Jesus, why does He give me so much work?

So work itself is not the curse. The curse that had befallen men was the stress, toil and suffering caused by work. Genesis 3:17-19 explains God’s original design for work, where “painful toil” through “the sweat of your brow” is needed to cultivate food.

Work in and of itself is no bad thing. The Son of God Himself was a worker. Not just as a carpenter, but John 5:17 saw Jesus answering the Jewish leaders, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”


If work were evil in and of itself, God would never encourage people to engage in it. But He does. For example, He told Noah and his family the same thing He told Adam and Eve – to have dominion over the earth (Genesis 9:1-7). In the New Testament,

Christians are commanded to work (Colossians 3:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:11).

And if you go back to the Genesis 3 passage, work was not cursed as a result of sin, but the ground on which man works: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it”.

The curse affected work in three ways:

TOIL: Work had been a joy, but now it would be toil. People would feel burdened and even come to detest work.
THORNS: “Thorns and thistles” would hinder our original authority and dominion over the earth. In other words, the earth would not be as cooperative as it had been.
TASKS: People would have to “sweat” to accomplish their tasks. Work would require more effort and energy, accompanied with stress, workplace pressure, the daily grind of politics and destructive boredom.

But work itself is not evil. Far from calling it a curse, the Bible calls work and its fruit a gift from God in Ecclesiastes 5:18-19, where we are called to “find satisfaction” and “be happy” in our toilsome labour.


In the world filled with overwhelming distraction, over-stimulation and excessive workload, maybe you will be able to relate to Martha.

And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was encumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said to her, Martha, Martha, you are careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: And Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:39-42)

In this passage, what is usually distilled is the message of the barrenness of Martha’s busyness.

Why do we work? Whose applause are we working for?

And Martha’s honesty with Jesus is something we can all learn from. Get angry. Get frustrated. Get up and be 100% honest with God about how you are truly feeling about work and people and situations.

Work itself is not evil. Far from calling it a curse, the Bible calls work and its fruit a gift from God

How many times have we experienced a situation that has induced thoughts and behaviour bordering on sin, and yet, our prayers remain hypocritical – seemingly content and happy with life, masking the sinful selves that Jesus so desires to heal and restore?

How can Jesus heal you unless you’re first transparent and honest about your condition and your needs?


You can mask your heart and your prayers, but God sees through it all.

It’s funny how we treat God like how we treat people. When asked if we’re fine, the default response is “I’m fine” – when often we are anything but. Yet when we’re sick and go to a hospital, we’re honest with the symptoms we’re experiencing so the doctor can make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the right medication.

If including prayer and quiet time has become another task off of your to-do list, if going to the foot of the cross in awe of Jesus’ beauty has become a chore, if encountering God in your daily life has started to become just another ritual to “please” Him, God already knows, even if you won’t admit it.

How else can we be humbled by how much we need Jesus until we see how sinful and desperate we are for His grace?

We can choose to be defensive about our self-justification and need to appear holy in front of The Holy One, or we can come clean about who we really are – sinners in need of love and complete, reckless grace.