Is Work a Curse?

Daniel Denk

READ : Genesis 3:17-19

By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food. (v. 19 NIV)

Work is a gift of God in creation. But the fall introduced frustration into our work. We must be careful to note that the curse God pronounces in Genesis 3 is not on the man but upon the ground. As with everything else, work also has been affected by sin. Yet work does not cease, although now it can involve toil, boredom, frustration, and disappointment.

Because work is what it is, some people choose the way of idleness. The apostle Paul had to warn the Thessalonians against the sin of idleness: “‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’ We hear that some among you are idle” (2 Thess. 3:10-11). This mistaken reaction to the fallen nature of work leads to a loss of our dignity as God’s image bearers.

Because of the seeming futility of work, we are sorely tempted to avoid it. In addition to the loss of dignity, idleness also results in the loss of personal fulfillment and joy, the loss of our sustenance, along with sinful activities that eventually follow. God has made us in his image as workers. When tempted to be lazy we need to remember work is not a curse but is something God blesses and sees as good.


Lord, give us the courage to work, even in the face of difficulty.