God the Worker

By Mark D. Roberts

August 12, 2015

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.”

Genesis 1:1-2


A note from Mark Roberts: For the next two weeks, Life for Leaders will feature “greatest hits” from the past year. I’m doing this while I’m on vacation. New devotions will come on August 26. Our newer subscribers will be seeing these devotions for the first time. If you have been with us since the beginning, I’m hoping that you’ll find it worthwhile to review what we’ve learned about work and leadership from Genesis 1-2. As I write the Life for Leaders devotions, I’m grateful for your encouragement and support.

Given how familiar I am with the creation narrative in Genesis 1, I find it hard to step back and see it with fresh eyes. Perhaps you can relate. But if I use my imagination, I can gain some perspective. I imagine, for example, how else God might have been introduced to us. We could glimpse a vision like that of Revelation, with God seated on the throne and myriads of heavenly beings worshiping before him. Or we could meet God as the Good Shepherd caring for his sheep. There are so many other possibilities. (If you want a theological wild ride, check out the Enuma Elish, the ancient Babylonian creation account. You’ll see just how different Genesis might have been.)

In the very first chapter of the Bible, God is revealed as the Creator, indeed, as a worker. Yes, in Genesis 1, God works. Now, to be sure, God’s work has a unique character. God works by speaking all things into existence. Yet this is work, real work. This truth is clarified in the last part of the first creation story where it says, “And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had done” (Gen 2:2). If the notion of God as a worker seems strange to you, remember what Jesus said in John 5:17, “My Father is still working, and I also am working.”

Do you ever think of God as a worker? If you did, what difference might this make? Or course, God doesn’t get up in the morning and drive to the office or hike out into the fields or nurse a newborn child or strategize about his company’s future. But God is a worker, the first worker, the one who shows us the essential value of work.

If God is a worker, indeed, the Worker, then we have the opportunity to be like God as we work. What we do today may be less glorious than speaking creation into existence, but, nevertheless, our work can be a conscious and worshipful imitation of God’s own work. Through our work, we can live into our calling as God’s people, sharing with God in the good work of helping creation to be fruitful and beautiful.


Do you ever think of God as a worker? Why or why not? If you were to think of God in this way, what difference might it make in your own work? How might you consciously imitate and honor God through your work today?


Gracious God, today I remember that you are a worker. In fact, you first revealed yourself through the good work of creation. You want me to think of you as a worker. Help me to do so, to see you more truly and fully. As I do, may your being a worker shape my life and work. Even today, as I do the tasks before me, may I work at them in conscious imitation of you, offering all I do to you as worship. Amen.

This devotional was originally published on April 13, 2015.

Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

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