Tuesday, October 13th Genesis 2:15-22

The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” So out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Genesis 2:15-22

The unemployment rate in the United States is close to 10%. The actual figure, which includes those who have been unemployed so long that they have quit looking, is higher. Among African Americans, it is over 15%. In Detroit, over 30%. Perhaps the word “crisis” is overused but I can’t think of a word that fits any better.

The creation stories are clear about the holiness of work. “The The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.” When we use our personal time and talents in our daily work, we are cooperating with God in the work of creation. The human economy puts price tags and various values on the work we do but in God’s economy, our value is measured by the good we are doing for others. (By the way, Tuesday morning is “Garbage Day” at the Nelson household. Today, my garbage man is far more valuable to me than a brain surgeon.)

But there is another aspect of daily work that is a blessing in our lives – the opportunity that going to work gives us to develop friendships and relationships with a wide variety of people.

The creation story says that it isn’t good that we are alone. It isn’t. It isn’t good for us to be alone. It isn’t even very healthy. Single men have much greater incidence of poor health indicators than married men. Loneliness breeds depression and unhealthy means of self medication. Spending a significant amount of time at work blesses us with relational connections to people we otherwise would never know.

It is very painful to make that last drive home from work with your office packed in boxes in your trunk. It is a deeper pain than simply worries about how you are going to pay the bills. Deeper than the loss of financial security and self esteem is the realization that you have not only lost your place in the world, you have been cut off from the people with whom you have shared a significant piece of your life.

Those left at the office are feeling the pain as well. Living with the fear of “you could be next” and the guilt that you still have a job, those still working after the latest round of lay offs are also missing the co-workers who aren’t there any longer.

So it is that many people today find themselves living through a very confusing, stressful, scary time of life that they never really saw coming.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, we pray today for those people who are still coming to grips with having lost their means of making a living, for those living in fear and despair. We pray that they find ways to connect with others, to step out of isolation, to find new employment. And we pray as well for those with the abilities to start new businesses and provide new jobs for others. Far too often we ignore the holiness of daily work and all that it takes to provide it. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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4 Responses to “Tuesday, October 13th Genesis 2:15-22”

  1. Tim Says:

    Rev. Kerry,

    I know your whole purpose is providing hope for those who have lost there positions for one reason or another, however, todays devotion seems that it would be especially tough on those who have.

    Almost to the point that they may feel that, not only have they let down there coworkers, family, and friends but God.

    I am sure you have a tough row to hoe every day but this is the first impression that flashed through my mind when reading today’s devotion.

    Thanks for your time,

    Tim

  2. Meg Finerty Says:

    The creation story is about relationships and through these relationships belonging. I think that we want to be independent islands, but we were created to be in relationships and when any relationships are broken–work, family, friends–it leaves us less connected to one another. We need to focus more on relationship building and less on the “me” and what is good for “me” in order to get out of this recession. I keep praying that our business and political leadership will also see the brokenness and help us feel more united and working toward the good of humanity. Thanks for this devotional.

  3. Kandie Says:

    Know of any good pastors looking for a position in North Dakota? The weather may not always be the greatest but the laid back lifestyle makes up for it!

  4. Kathy Haueisen Cashen Says:

    When the top 1% horde wealth that could create jobs that the bottom 99% need to simply sustain a decent life style we have truly lost our moral bearings. That those who helped create this wave of un and under employment are rewarded for their outrageous behavior with bonuses is beyond comprehension. This is still my country and I still love America–but I am truly distressed at the greed and “me first and only me” attitudes that seem to grow and get rewarded. It grieves me greatly.

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