Blog - Doing Earthwork
God as ArchitectThursday, February 06, 2014
you wish you could find more meaning in your daily work? Look carefully, and
you’ll likely discover it in watching the way God works.
This begins a new "God as . . .” series. In each installment, "as” will be followed by a word that describes how God has revealed himself as a worker. David learned from what he saw as he reflected on God as worker: "I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done” (Ps. 143:5). So this man who early on experienced work as a shepherd was able to trace the meaning for that activity back to God as Shepherd (Ps. 23:1).
Some might say the Bible merely projects human work upon God, picturing him in our image. But just the opposite is true. He made us in HIS image. Work originated in God, the worker. We work because he made us in his likeness. Our work stems from his.
In Work Matters, R. Paul Stevens writes, "Throughout the Bible we see different images of God as a worker . . . . These are all rich metaphors drawn from almost every trade, craft, and role in human experience. . . . We are called to work as God does" (Gen. 1:28).
Does your work involve designing buildings or highways or systems? Then your work originated in God’s work. As the writer of Hebrews reminds us, "Abraham . . . was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10).
As the original architect, God specifies dimensions and materials for building projects. The plans for the ark came straight from the creative mind of God. Length: 450 feet. Width: 75 feet. Height: 45 feet. Wood of a certain kind coated with pitch or tar to make it waterproof. Three decks. Roof. Door. Rooms to accommodate people, animals, and birds.
God instructed Moses to "Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you” (Ex. 25:9). That pattern included precise measurements as well as the woods, metals, and fabrics to use in the construction process. Some of those materials, such as gold, added beauty. Bronze grates would withstand fire.
So architects, designers, and engineers can all locate their work in the work of God. Like God, they must first consider the purposes for and uses of the projects they are designing. How many people will inhabit or work in the building? What kinds of activities will take place in it? How can it be made safe in the event of storms and earthquakes? How can the project be made aesthetically attractive?
In his book, Working, Studs Terkel says work is "a
search . . . for daily meaning as well as daily bread.” Far too many people,
though, find their work meaningless. The Psalmist knew how to escape that kind
of debilitating discouragement: "Great are the works of the Lord; they are
pondered by all who delight in them.” (Ps. 111:2).