Tag Archives: God’s plan

What Will Work Be Like in the New Heaven and Earth? Russell Gehrlein October 12, 2017

In your job today, you will likely experience the “thorns and thistles” that have come as a result of the Fall; the reality is that work will be difficult until Christ returns. But what happens to work when Jesus comes back, and Adam’s curse from Genesis 3:16-19 is no more, as it states in Revelation 22:3: “No longer will there be any curse”?

Here are some key points worth considering:

  • At the consummation of all things, Christians and the earth will be fully redeemed (Rev. 21:1-5)
  • Many aspects of human work will continue in the New Jerusalem (Isa. 65:21-23)
  • It may even include the best of human culture and achievements, past, present, and future such as the wheel, Handel’s “Messiah,” food, architecture, roads, government, technology, etc. (Rev. 21:24, 26)
  • There will be no more need for doctors, lawyers, counselors, or wheelchair manufacturers

If we understand that some of the things we do now could be carried over into eternity, it can radically change our attitudes and actions in our work. It means it has eternal value.

Tom Nelson, in Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work, states,

If our daily work, done for the glory of God and the common good of others, in some way carries over to the new heavens and new earth, then our present work itself is overflowing with immeasurable value and eternal significance.

In plain terms, we need to see the huge impact of the great reversal of the curse, where sinless humanity and its relationship to work are restored to pre-Fall conditions.

Focus on the New Creation

Just imagine what our work could be like in the New Creation without the pain, frustration, stress, difficulty, unpredictability, sweat, and interpersonal conflict between sinners that we currently experience in our labor due to the Fall.

The possibility that there will be work for us to do is implied in the scriptures. The prophet Micah suggests that we don’t just lay down our weapons, we will pick up instruments of work: “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks” (Mic. 4:3).

If there is work, it will not seem like it, as the quality of workers and the workplace will be fully restored. There will be no corrupt leaders, workaholism, unemployment, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, greed, exploitation of workers, etc., that exist in a fallen world. We will no longer experience the power or the presence of sin. Work relationships will not be characterized by conflict, but by peace, fellowship, and unity. The hopeless message of vanity of Ecclesiastes 1 will vanish. There will be no meaninglessness in life and work “under the sun” because we will all be “under the Son.”

Revelation 21:1-5 gives us a description of what to expect at the consummation, after Jesus returns and the judgment of Satan and his followers is complete. You can see that contrary to popular belief, heaven is not a place of disembodied spirits playing harps up in the clouds. The New Jerusalem will come down to earth, where God will dwell for all eternity with those whose names are found in the Lamb’s book of life and where there will be no more death or sadness or pain.

Michael Wittmer, in Becoming Worldly Saints, reminds us that God’s future plan is not destruction, but restoration:

God did not say, “I am making new everything!” but rather “I am making everything new!” He does not promise to make new things to furnish the new earth, but to renew the things that are already here.

Paul Stevens, in Work Matters: Lessons from Scripture, agrees, “Our final destiny is not a workless utopia but a renewed world in which we will work with infinite creativity and fulfillment.”

Nelson concurs: “Your work in the new creation will be even better than it was in the old creation. God has a great future in store for his image-bearing workers.”

In his book, The Heavenly Good of Earthly Work, Darrell Cosden ponders more specifically what our work will be like,

Our sanctified imaginations can only suggest what we think God’s promise to make all things new might mean…There will be, no doubt, some specific products of our work that through judgment will be transformed and incorporated into the “new physics” of the new creation. I am quite hoping that Handel’s Messiah will be regularly in concert in the New Jerusalem.

Wittmer suggests that Bach and Michelangelo will be there with time to create even better works.

What Kind of Work Will We Do?

This is only my biblically informed speculation, but it appears to me that there will be two categories of jobs that we will not find anywhere in the eternal kingdom.

  1. There will be a small number of obvious jobs that will no longer exist because evil is no more (e.g., pimps, hit men, counterfeiters, porn film directors, and drug dealers).
  2. However, there will be a much larger number of jobs that will no longer exist because they are no longer needed since fallen humanity and the Earth have been restored. While the eternal value of the earthly work remains, these types of jobs and career fields will be unnecessary in the New Jerusalem: morticians, law enforcement, light bulb manufacturers, lawyers, doctors, wheelchair manufacturers, psychologists, and many more. Those that served in these areas will likely continue to apply their unique design to work that is needed.

Stevens writes that our future work will be all that God originally designed it to be—fulfilling,

Work in the new heaven and new earth will be all that good work was intended to be. Perhaps what we will be doing is what we have done in this life but without the sweat and frustration experienced here…Since there will be no curse on work, the workplace, or the worker, labor will be personally and completely satisfying, far more than was obtainable in this life.

Although there are a lot of unanswered questions about the nature of our work for all eternity, these insights should still give us a tremendous amount of hope. They should cause us all to reflect on Paul’s words of encouragement in the context of his teaching on the bodily resurrection of believers: “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).

 

Editor’s Note: Learn more about the eternal value of work in All Things New: Rediscovering the Four-Chapter Gospel by Hugh Whelchel. 

First thing’s first

If God is leading you and you decide to ignore Him and then sit around wondering why God isn’t moving you, you are not looking for His leading you are looking for Him to affirm your plan. That’s just not going to happen. Henry and Richard Blackaby (Experiencing God Day by Day p 297) point out how Jonah ignored God when God wanted Jonah to go to Nineveh. Yes I understand Jonah’s issue. Hey Nineveh was a bad place, it is full of people who have no reticence to make war on their neighbors and do it in a really brutal manner. OK, but this idea, so prevalent today, that God is only going to give you nice, easy guidance is so wrong. Then we have the chutzpah to wonder why God seems to be leaving us in our own little hovel, not providing us with guidance. If you won’t get up and take the first step, how can He guide you to the next step? We want everything revealed to us while we sit back in our Barcolounger, and can’t understand why it’s not happening. He’s only going to reveal to us what He wants us to know, but sometimes it takes an active response on our part, if we don’t do that there’s not point in further revelation on His part. If we are faithful to follow God’s guidance, He will move you along, He will trust us with more.

So many people presume to make demands on God such as: “I need to know it all right now and You have to do it or I won’t believe in Your. I always find it very interesting when people decide to bargain with God. How do they figure that they have anything to bargain with God? How do you figure that God owes you anything or everything up front? Reminds me of the line, Jack Nicholson, in a A Few Good Men “you can’t handle the truth”. If you can’t take the first step, the truth just isn’t going to make any sense.

We know that we learn everything step by step. We presume to believe that God is just supposed to hand everything right over while you won’t even make the move that He’s showing you to make. Why should God trust you to do anything if you won’t even start? Why do we think we have to know the end of the plan, or we just won’t cooperate with God?

If you’re sitting around waiting to be blessed, but won’t follow His guidance, why do you presume to believe that you should be blessed, or be in God’s will. Sure sometime we know following a particular path is going to create a trial in our life. The disciples didn’t know where God was moving them and for the disciples they endured difficult lives, that often ended in martyrdom. But don’t you think that they have been truly honored and gifted in heaven and the resurrection, to eternity, because they followed God’s will?

We have got to give up this idea that we have to be in control. We have a very finite understanding of everything, God’s is infinite. When we trust God’s moving sometimes we can see the miraculous and astounding. The Ninevites did repent and turn to God. The miraculous can also be in very ordinary things too. But as the Blackaby’s point out: “What God says to us next will depend on how we responded to His previous word to us.”

They end up with this advice: “If you have not received a fresh word from God, return to the last thing God told you and examine your obedience. Is the Lord still waiting for your obedience?” They refer us to Jeremiah 33: 1-3. Jeremiah was also in a dangerous situation, but in contrast to Jonah he responded and followed God’s directions and God moved Jeremiah along to where he needed to be. We can be like Jonah and try to “outsmart” God (yea, sure, let me know how that works out for you), or: “Seek to be like Jeremiah, and properly respond to your Lord’s instructions the first time.”

Even though God seems to be asking you to do a lot of difficult, unpleasant things, I have found that it’s easier to follow His guidance, because when I don’t I’m left alone in my unpleasant little dead world.

 

Men and women are different, that’s how God made us

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Starting decades ago, right up to the present, there is still this odd, persistent idea that there are no differences between men and women. The more real science there is and the less pop science that is so popular in liberal circles, the more we understand how different men and women are. That is not to say better, not so good, right/wrong, it’s just that’s the way God made us.

It also underscores the fact that brought together, in holy matrimony of course, men and women complement each other so amazingly, clearly we were made that way in order to, together, be a small indication of the completeness of God. God is the totality of everything, neither man nor woman, but the completeness, and so much more of humans. God made man and woman to be together, I understand that doesn’t always work out in life, but it does say that we are complete in heterosexual marriage, and homosexual marriage does not complete anyone or anything, it undermines what God has intended for us and tries to convince us that there are alternatives to God’s plan. There certainly are alternatives, but nothing other than God’s plan ends up well.

Anyway, the prompt for this blog is an article in “Christian Counseling Today” published by the American Association of Christian Counselors, since I’m pretty sure the vast majority of people reading this don’t subscribe I will quote at length. If you are interested in Christian Counseling this organization has great programs to train clergy and laity, if interested feel free to check with me.

The following article is by Walt Larimore, Dr Larimore is an MD “…one of America’s best-known family physicians and has been named in ‘The Best Doctors in America’ and ‘Who’s who in Medicine and Healthcare’. He is the best-selling author of 30 books, which along with his health blog and free daily devotional   DrWalt.com 

“…as I counsel female patients, they seem surprised to learn that men’s brains are simply not structured for long talks – whereas a woman’s brain is designed to process and enjoy long bouts of verbal communication.

This is not learned behavior. Rather, males and females come into the world with differences in how they hear and speak, already in place. The effect of testosterone in the unborn male changes his brain so that it has fewer and less connected verbal centers than does a female brain. So, it should not surprise us that girls develop proficient language skills earlier than boys…These differences are so profound that by three years of age, the average girl has twice the vocabulary of the average boy.

What is happening in the brain to cause these differences? Women use specific areas located on both sides of the brain for speech and language functions, while men tend to use just one side of their brains (the left hemisphere) for verbal tasks. when it comes to talking, women are naturally good at it, enjoy the process, and do it often. In addition, the neural connections between a woman’s emotional processing and memory centers are larger, far more active and more strongly connected to the verbal center of the brain than in a man.

She is designed to connect memories, words and feelings, so her conversation tends to be laden with emotion and meaning. Not so with men. The biological design of men causes them to be less likely to identify and communicate their emotions. With a smaller emotional center, men remember fewer emotional experiences than women. Furthermore, the portions of his brain that process emotion are much smaller and much less connected than those in her brain. So a man’s capacity to feel and express emotions is physically separated from his ability to verbally articulate. In conversation, men are much less likely (or even able) to talk about emotions and generally express much less emotional content than the average woman. This reality explains why male conversations are usually filled with facts and are devoid of emotion.

It is no surprise to veteran counselors that the most common dissatisfaction in marriage for a woman, at least after a few years, is that her husband does not provide the conversation she needs. Yet, most are not aware that a woman’s sensitivity to this communication gap has a biological origin – the calming, feel-good, bonding hormone called oxytocin.This hormone compels a woman to find others with whom she can talk it out because, when she does, it feels good and helps relieve stress and tension. Nevertheless, conversation with her husband is important because it magnifies the feelings of bonding and intimacy that she longs for in her relationship with him. However, if a wife’s expectation is that her husband will be the sole provider of oxytocin-rich relationships and conversations, she is likely to feel unloved and quite alone. She may expect her husband to feel unloved and quite alone. She may expect her husband to be available and able to meet all of her emotional and conversational needs, but it is just not the way he is built!

His brain is built to see conversation as a means to an end, whereas her brain is designed to see talking as an end in itself. Researchers have found that not only is her brain built to listen more acutely than his brain, but a woman can use up to six ‘listening expressions’ on her face in any 10-second period of conversation. Whether women are speaking or listening, they reflect in their faces what they are feeling. A woman’s facial expression communicate feelings to such an extent that when two women are talking to each other, it can be very difficult to tell who is sharing and who is responding…

…A man’s high levels of testosterone and vasopressin lead him toward problem-solving responses to stressors. Therefore, a man’s brain and hormones compel him to respond to emotions and stress by either doing something or fixing something They also lead him toward aggression and action, dominance and decision making. Functional brain scans show the male brain is extremely systemized, with a high ability to compartmentalize, a low ability to multitask, a high ability to control emotions, a low relational orientation, a high project orientation, a high ability to ‘zone out’ a tendency to act first and think later when faced with stress, an aggressive response to risk and a tendency to compete with other males. The female brain, on the other hand, has been shown to be highly empathetic with a low ability to compartmentalize, a high ability to multitask, a low ability to control emotions, a relational orientation, a low project orientation, a low ability to ‘zone out’ a tendency to think and feel before acting in response to stress, a cautious response to risk, and a tendency to cooperate with other females.

In addition, the cortical processing areas that men use for solving puzzles or problems tend to be the same regions that women use for emotive processing. In other words, when he is dealing with a project, a problem, a stress, or an emotion, a man will typically become very quiet. While using his right brain to solve problems or deal with emotions, it is hard for a man to use his left brain to listen or speak. His compartmentalized brain is designed to do one thing at a time; it is difficult for him to solve a problem and converse at the same time. Scans show that when a man is sitting silently, his brain is either at rest or he is having a conversation with himself.

Most women find it incomprehensible – and even frightening – when they realize this is how a male’s brain is designed to work. This is because it is almost the opposite of her brain. A woman’s brain is never at rest – when she is dealing with a problem, she not only wants to talk, but also needs to talk. Her conversation with another person allows her to reduce stress and talk through the problem. It is important for men to realize that when she does this, she is not necessarily looking for a solution in the same way he would.

The fact is that his brain and her brain perceive the world quite differently and communicate in very different ways. We speak and hear language differently. We mean different things by what we say. As a result, a significant communication gap can build up and divide us if we are not aware of our design differences and why they are there. To bridge this communication gap, we need to understand not only how we say what we say, but also what the other sex’s brain hears. Coming to recognize and understand our communication and language differences has allowed my wife and me to smile and laugh more as we work to build a stronger marriage.” ( Christian Counseling Today Vol 20 No 3 pp 54 -57)

In summary, there are clear differences and reasons why we are how we are. Guys be there for your wives, spend time listen and share, it does have to be both ways, don’t just be a sounding board. Ladies, realize that there is a limit, husband needs to make more of an effort, but don’t overdo. Speaking as a man, please one favor, unless there is a very important reason, please come to the point first, then fill in the details. As a pastor, I really do value my wife’s input, she really does give me an important perspective, but there are times when she’s talking about something that’s kind of a hot-button and I really do need to know where the discussion is going. Let’s get out of this nonsense that men and women are the same, they aren’t, vivre la difference, God made us different to be paired together by Him to glorify Him, let’s live up to His expectations.