We Will Work in Heaven
Remember that Fidelity Investments commercial where people follow a green line to retirement? The message is that Fidelity will guide you to retirement through their financial services. Follow the line - we'll guide you to paradise.
And they might. But I'm not here to talk about Fidelity. I want to talk about the heart bait they use in the ad. Retirement is part of the American Dream for many people. Work for a bunch of years and then not for a bunch of years. Live off your 401K or IRA and run from bank to bank trying to get good rates so you don't touch your principal.
The green line might get you to retirement. You might cash in your chips and remove yourself from the work force - per se - until you slide into the grave. I've been dogmatic on the concept of retirement before but what do I know, I'm a 32 year old punk. If you can and want to retire, do your thing.
But you won't stay retired.
When we die and go to heaven, we will work again. Now I cannot prove this beyond the shadow of a doubt, but I have two strong Biblical arguments:
1. Work was the first blessing. In Genesis 1:28, God blesses Adam and Eve by telling them to have kids and to get to work taking care of the earth. This is before The Fall. The Garden was a perfect representation of God's design for creation. Nothing was broken or cursed. If heaven is like the Garden - and I believe it is - we'll work.
2. Isaiah 65:22-23:
They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labor in vain
or bear children for calamity,
for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD,
and their descendants with them.
(Isaiah 65:22-23 ESV)
This passage of Isaiah is talking about the new heavens and new earth - the promise of the world to come. These verses are carrots of hope, whispers of love. And yes, work is there. Redeemed, productive, fair, and joyful.
So if you find yourself playing backgammon on your porch sipping tea while the bank counts your millions, good for you. If that's what you're looking for I hope you find it. But just know that we are going to have to do something with the concept of work. It isn't evil, it isn't meant to hurt you, and guess what - it isn't going away.
Work is a gift. God intends for us to "long enjoy the work of our hands." And I don't think we have to wait until we flat line. This world is full of opportunities to do work that matters.