“Occupation” Session 2:
Work as Ruling
Read pages 33-66 of Garden City before beginning this lesson
REIGNING IN LIFE
Romans 5 teaches that we were created to “reign in life.” We reign in life by mirroring God in our creativity. We were created to “subdue the earth” and rule over it as God’s partners in creation. Remember that Adam and Eve had jobs to fulfill prior to the Fall. This was part of what it meant for them to rule. Occupation is not a result of sin. It is a byproduct of creation.
We are all kings and queens, called to “rule” over creation. However, we get the choice of what kinds of rulers we want to be. Will we be choose to reign as benevolent kings and queens or tyrants and despots? Will we make something beautiful out of the raw materials that we have been given or will we strip the world bare of its natural resources for our own temporal gain? As kings and queens, we have the choice.
1. Read Romans 5 in your small group. How does this shape your views on occupation? (Focus on verse 23.)
2. What kind of “ruler” do you want to be? How can you walk this out in your occupation?
3. How does the example of Jesus show us how to reign in life? Discuss this with your small group.
THE CULTURAL MANDATE
In Genesis 1:28, God commanded Adam and Eve to, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.” Many scholars interpret this mandate as a command to create culture. If you are a parent, you are responsible to establish the culture of your home, one that you can “rule over.” This is the first part of fulfilling this cultural mandate. The second part is to “fill the earth.” This implies building society. God doesn’t just want us to make more babies. He wants us to make cities. We are called to take the raw materials of the earth, “subdue” them, and create something new—something Edenic.
1. Have you ever thought of parenting as an occupation? How can you fulfill the cultural mandate by establishing the culture of your home?
2. How can you “subdue the earth” in your work? What raw materials are you using to create culture? Discuss this with your small group.
If you look at Genesis 2, you will notice that the first human occupation was gardening. Let’s use this as a metaphor for all work. Tim Keller uses this analogy to define work as, “rearranging the raw materials of God’s creation in such a way that it helps the world in general, and people in particular, thrive and flourish. “The Garden of Eden was a “project, not a product.” Our responsibility, as partners with God, is to continue His work “on earth as it is in heaven.” We see this illustrated in the last few chapters of Revelation. In these chapters we catch a vision of the finished product that God always intended for us to build. Instead of a return to Eden, you see the future dwelling place of redeemed humanity as the New Jerusalem - a “garden city.”
1. What is your “garden” and what you doing to tend to it?
2. Do you feel ownership of the creation of this future garden city?
3. Remember the connection between the concepts of “work” and “worship” in Hebrew? Do you work as a form of worship to the Lord? Discuss this with your small group.