Book Review: Work and Our Labour in the Lord

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In Work and Our Labour in the Lord, James Hamilton Jr. constructs a biblical theology on work by focusing on what God has created us to do in the past, present, and future. Hamilton guides readers through the redemptive historical storyline of the Bible to highlight God’s commission for work beginning from the dawn of creation to the future new heaven and new earth. In Genesis, Adam was tasked to be God’s representative to have dominion over creation starting from the Garden of Eden and spreading to the ends of the Earth. However, as a consequence of the Fall, creation was subjected to futility resulting in hard labour and pain for all creatures. In God’s grace, Christ came as the second Adam to perfectly fulfill what the first Adam failed to do thereby restoring hope of a future in which His redeemed people will fully realize God’s calling for work. So in the meantime, how are we to work as we await our King’s return? To answer this, Hamilton draws from the four biblical examples of Joseph, Daniel, Nehemiah, and Ruth to exemplify what faithful and steadfast work ethic should look like. Moreover, the author draws from references in Ecclesiastes and Proverbs to illustrate what God-glorifying behaviour and actions should be in our workplaces. Hamilton also summarizes various New Testament commands and exhortations to offer practical guidelines of how Christians are to display the image of God in their vocations and reject the ways of the world in business dealings, office conversations, and customer interactions. As a whole, Hamilton aims to establish a biblical worldview that connects our present work to the original intent in Genesis and the eschatological reality of what we will do in heaven as described in Revelation.

I would recommend this brief book to all Christians but especially to young adults preparing to enter the workforce. Our society places emphasis on results, efficiency, and personal satisfaction so that work becomes an idol that we worship instead of a means of grace by which we reflect God as His image bearers. God has called us to be priest-kings to tend and care for His creation faithfully while we yearn for the day when we assume our final roles as those who will reign with Christ in eternity. As long as we continue to display God’s image and likeness in whatever jobs He may bless us with, we are living out God’s intended purpose for work. Viewed in this way, work is not futile or wearisome but part of embracing God’s original design since creation and participating in the renewal process of the whole earth waiting to be fully transformed when Jesus returns.

In compliance with Federal Trade Commission regulations, I was provided a review copy of this book from Crossway.

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