Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:11-12)
Today’s passage is just one example of a theme we see throughout Genesis 1: God calling the material world “good.” Why is this important? Because it helps us debunk the lie that “spiritual work” is more important to God than work that is more concrete and earthbound.
Let me trace the logic here. Many Christians have grown up believing a misinterpretation of 2 Peter 3:10 which says the earth will be “destroyed by fire” in the end. If we take that literally, then we must assume that our ultimate existence will be disembodied souls floating on heavenly clouds for all eternity. And if that’s the case, the only thing that matters in the present are our evangelistic efforts to “save souls.”
But the context of 2 Peter 3 is critical. Peter is comparing “the Day of the Lord” to Noah and the flood that once “destroyed” the earth. Of course, the flood didn’t eliminate the earth. It purified it and washed away what humans had distorted in God’s good creation.
So it will be at the end of time. God deemed the material world “good” in Genesis 1 and, in the words of theologian Randy Alcorn, has “never once has he renounced his claim on what he made.” Yes, sin has distorted this world, but creation is still inherently “good.” And one day, God will make it like new again (see Revelation 21-22).
This means that the work pastors, missionaries, and biblical scholars do in “the spiritual realm” is no higher a calling than the work you do making lattes, digging ditches, or building a business. In the words of one commentary, because “everything God created is good” (see 1 Timothy 4:4), “a Christian can dig wells, design computer chips, scrub toilets, walk on the moon, fix cell phones, plant crops, or harvest trees to the glory of God.”
Amen. Because God has and always will deem the material world good, you can be confident that your work is far from “unspiritual.” It is ordained by God! So do it with joy, excellence, and in accordance with his commands today.