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

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  • Author: John Mark Comer
  • Year published: 2015
  • Year read: 2020


Below are some notes on important ideas that I got from the book. I connected them to individual ideas and linked Scripture whenever verses were mentioned.

This way, when opening up a specific passage, I can see all of the author’s ideas connected to it.


On Work

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.

Work is broken

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.

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

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

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. Wherever 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

God values beauty

Note Example - Design 9. He created them “pleasing to the eye”. The first person filled with the Holy Spirit was a designer (2).