Garden City: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human.

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  • Intro
  • Part I: Work
    • Kings & Queens
    • A placed called Delight
    • The unearthing of a calling
    • Everything is spiritual
    • Kavod
    • Kazam! Machine
    • Cursed is the ground
  • Part II: Rest
    • I am not a machine
    • The anti-Pharaoh
    • The Lord of the Sabbath
  • Part III: The Garden City
    • Life after heaven
    • The people of the future
  • Epilogue: Redefining greatness


If you could do anything, what would you do?

This is a powerful question to ask myself. If I could do anything I would want to do for work, what would I do?

Most of our days are spent either working or resting

The majority of our day we either spend working – in our actual day job, on our todo-list, around the house – or resting. If we constrain the Bible to only the thing we deem “Spiritual”, it only affects a tiny portion of our day. How much time to we actually spend praying, reading the Bible or visiting a service? Surely the Bible has to say something about what we spend most of our life doing.

Part I: Work

Kings & Queens

God is drawing joy from his labour

We see God at work God saw it was good. After a day of full work, God saw what he accomplished, he sits back in his chair and draws joy from his creation. It is the sense of fulfillment you get from something that you love and that you’re good at.

In most ancient creation stories, humans were created to outsource the work of gods. In the “Euma Elish” creation story from Babylon, the gods are tired of work and complain to Marduk, the king of the gods. This is his plan:

I will establish a savage “Man” shall be his name … He shall be charged with the service of the gods, that they might be at ease.

In most stories work is a burden, something below the gods. In the biblical creation narrative, the Creator God actually enjoys work. Humans aren’t created to be cheap servants, providing the work but are called into a special partnership with God as Image bearers.

Work is a blessing

Work is a blessing Work is actually fulfilling and good for us. We need to do and create something because that is what we are created to do. When we don’t work, we feel hollow.

A placed called Delight

Cultural MandateWe are called to care for creation

The unearthing of a calling


Calling Calling can be translate as “voice”. It is your unique contribution. Sometimes it is a specific outside calling but much more often it is in relationship with how God created you.

See your potential and your limitations as a signpost. If you’re a natural leader and like to work with people, writing papers in a university lab will make you go stir-crazy. Our limitations are just as crucial as our potential.

Burnout is sometimes the result of trying to give something you don’t have in the first place.

Your individual calling takes time and silence to figure out.

Some questions by John Mark Comer to guide you:

  • What do ou love to do? What would you do if it wasn’t about the mone?
  • What are you good at (and bad at)? Keep in mind that his develops throughout life.
  • What does your world need?
    • Work is “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet”.
  • Does this make the world more garden-like?
  • Does it have God’s blessing and are there open doors?
  • Take time to listen to others who know you.

Everything is spiritual

Everything is spiritual

The Secular / Sacred Divide

The idea of a dicotomy between the “physical” and the “spiritual” has been around at least as long as Plato. It has also affected the world widely with the understanding that some parts of life are “for God” and others are not.

The compartmentalisation of the divine

That limits the realm that is “for God” to a very tiny sliver. We usually spend more time in what this worlview would consider “mundane” than in the “sacred”.

”Christian is a great adjective and a poor noun”

I am still wrestling with this but John Mark Comer proposes that there is no such thing as “Christian” music, only a Christian making music.

The melody itself is not Christian, the canvas and the paint isn’t, only the person who is doing the act of creation is or is not.

Our dual vocation

Humans are called to advance the Creation project described in Genesis 1 is our original calling.

The calling of the Great Commission is to restore people into that calling.

Both are valid and important. We are called to be a great IT guy and to tell people about Jesus.

”Spiritual” in the Bible

The word “spiritual” appears zero times in the Old Testament. Because everything was considered spiritual. The laws in Leviticus are very much about every aspect in life.

Apostle Paul uses the word “spiritual” in the sense of “animated by the Holy Spirit” which in his understanding all of life should be.

Jesus was a worker for decades

Jesus, God incarnate, was a worker for decades.


God’s glory

God values beauty

9. He created them “pleasing to the eye”. The first person filled with the Holy Spirit was a designer.

We are called to be hard workers

How we should work How ought we work? Like God. Working hard, being eager, honest and true. It is about our attitude towards our work.

1112 or “win the respect of outsiders”. Our work ethic is a witness.

Kazam! Machine

God values excellence


Transclude of Prov-22#29
==—29== When you’re good at what you do, you’ll end up in front of kings.

We are called to do our work with an authentic love for excellence. Jesus’ work was superlative. Whereever he went, he amazed people. So is God’s Creation. It’s not junky or patched together. It is excellent, flowing out of abundant loving generosity.

The church’s approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to exhorting him to not be drunk and disorderly in his leisure hours and to come to church on Sunday. What the church should be telling him is this: that the very first demand that his religion makes upon him is that he should make good tables. – Dorothy Sayers

In this, the good thing is he only calls us to be excellent as ourselves.

Transclude of Rom-12#6

Jesus lived with immense focus

Jesus lived a focused life Jesus shows true humaness. So how did Jesus live? He lived with immense Focus.

Transclude of John-17#4

How can he say the work is finished when there is so much left to do? Jesus knew what he was called to do.

From 19 on people ask John the Baptist “Who are you?“. “Elijah?”, “the Prophet (or: Messiah)?“. John the Baptist knew who he was and who he wasn’t.

We are called to live in the same way: Saying yes to everything God has for us and no to everything else.

Every man should be a jack of all trades, master of one – Benjamin Franklin (probably)

Cursed is the ground

Broken Work

Work is broken Whenever we uncouple our Work from God, it becomes a god. It is what we look forward to for identity and significance.

Since it is cursed and broken, work will always be a mixed bag. It will be good and satisfying but it will also be hard and rough. That is a good thing. In it’s roughness it drives us to God.

The Tower of Babel narrative shows the downfalls of pursuing work without God.

Part II: Rest

I am not a machine

God works, so we work. God rests, so we rest.

Learning to fight laziness with hard work, and how to fight workaholism with Sabbath.

The anti-Pharaoh


The Lord of the Sabbath

Part III: The Garden City

Life after heaven

New Creation

New heaven, new earth

There is the idea that everything will “burn up” when Jesus comes. The biblical account actually paints a new picture. In 10 Paul talks in the context of the flood. A global restart.

According to this book, the Bible paints the following picture: Life in a body → Life after death (Heaven/Hades) → Bodily resurrection

In 10 the saints cry out for earth. Earth is our home. 1 mirrors the Creation account, pointing towards a new creation.

The people of the future

We will work in the new creation

1718212223 “They shall build houses”

1314 “Plant vineyards”

Hope for work in a new creation

This gives hope for what we do. It gives us hope in work: 58. Our current work is “not in vain”. What we do right now matters. That means:

  1. Work is enough even if it’s just for the here and now
  2. Work is practice for the coming age. It “training for reigning” (Dallas Willard)
  3. Good work will last into heaven 13
  4. Good work now will be rewarded. 2324

Epilogue: Redefining greatness

upside-down Kingdom 34: Who does Jesus call “first”, or as it also can be translated, “great”? A servant.

To illustrate his point, 36 and 36, he puts a child on his lap. These days we romanticize children as an example of wonder, innocence and courage but not so in first-century Galilee. Children were at the bottom of the social latter, right next to servants. People on the margin of society.

That is greatness to Jesus.

Transclude of Mark-9#41

That is Jesus’ example of work deserving a reward from God himself. Giving a cup of water.

So work hard and well but don’t do it for you.