It was always YAH’s intention that mankind WORK — cultivate and steward. It was never His intent that mankind TOIL (go outside of Him to produce what was naturally to be ours).
Let’s observe a tree! (The tree is an example used in Scripture and Hebraic perspective to describe YAH, us, and how life works). To some extent a seed and the root system must work in order to establish what they are naturally to be and become. The roots push through the soil in order to be established. That is work. It is not toil. When they toil, it is a sign that the conditions are not ideal for what is natural to be brought about. Then the gardener must heal the unhealthy conditions and the effects thereof.
We live in a society that values toiling. Our society values going outside of YAH to get what is naturally ours. We are taught to invest resources (intellect, finances, time, energy, etc.) into the institutions and ideas that are valued by society as a whole in order to validate ourselves to society.
Daily life seems like a balancing act between toiling and working. To work is godly — as in, it is natural. (I’m not talking about a job or career). Our entire lives are work. Our lives are the acts of creating, cultivating, and stewardship. This is work.
Everything created works and must rely on something outside of itself to produce the best. This is the picture of trust. The world was created on the system of trust. Toil is not trust. Toil is a picture of the response of one who has not been experienced in trust. Trust requires me to be provided FOR. Toil requires that I provide for myself. Toil says, “I do not trust for someone else to provide this for me.”
I had a mishap recently in which money was withdrawn from my account without my authorization and it left me with nothing. The process of getting it back is going to take longer than when I needed it. I’m traveling tomorrow and had very little gas in my car. The struggle was real. So, I had to ask my Dad for the money to “hold me over.” As I told him what was going on, his response was, “Dang! Sounds like you’re in between a rock and a hard place!” My response was, “I am! I really am! (Laughing).” During this whole interaction, I realized that I do so much to make sure I’m not in the position to need someone else’s help financially. One could rationalize this with, “I have to make sure I don’t need anyone because I couldn’t ask anyone around me for help if I needed to. So, I gotta grind!” That sounds like it makes sense and it does — according to the system of toil! Living in the space of not needing someone else’s help produced a false confidence in me and has only assisted in isolating myself from the richness of vulnerability and trust.
The foundation of our relationship with YAH and all life is trust. Trust is natural. Independence is in direct conflict with trust.
The conditions that promote toil tell us we must sustain ourselves. It tells us we must be independent. Work gives us the opportunity to be vulnerable and value others. Work allows us to be strengthened — to live in community with others.
The Voice of Religion
The foundation of our relationship with YAH and all life is trust. Trust is natural. It is natural that YAH provides for us. Religion is unnatural.
If you’ve read any of my blogs, you’ll see me reference ‘religion.’ When I say religion, I’m not merely talking about organized religions recognized by civilization. I’m speaking to a system (that can be found at the foundation of various institutions), by which people attempt to access what YAH freely gives through their many traditions. Religion requires and justifies toil through shame and fear.
“If I were serious about God, I would be doing _____.” “If I don’t do this, God might do that.” “This is what you do when you love God.” “When you’re a leader, this is what you do.” I’ve heard these things from pulpits from the most well-meaning of people. I’ve used these thoughts to motivate me to “do the right thing.” It does not work. It only keeps you in a cycle of fear and shame. A lot of us are not interacting in relationship with YAH through true connection, but from fear.
In YAH’s system, anything I am to do, would naturally be produced in me if He’s the root, the mirror, the foundation. If I have to manufacture conditions in my relationship, something unnatural is being applied. This means, trust is not the connecting point. This means vulnerability is not the connecting point. This means I am trying to cover myself. We look at the story of Adam and Eve and don’t see the fig leaves we live with every day. We just enjoy being clothed. The worst part is religion compliments you on your fashion. Fig leaves keep out vulnerability and the fruit thereof.
Religion promotes deficiency and arms us with the tools to cover them. Here are some, to name a few: knowledge, church leadership, promotion, recognition, financial progression, pedestal living, etc. The voice says, “As long as I have _______, I’m alright!” Religion promotes a self-image of lack. Religion says, “I should be further along than this. So, here’s what I’ll do to cover where I truly am.” Toil indicates I am in lack and therefore I must strive to be complete. Work sees oneself for who I am and sees value in self and others. Religion is toil. Religion is exhausting. Religion is accusatory. Religion is weak. Religion is unnatural.
Vulnerability is the foundation for work.
Back to the Basics
Let’s glance at Scripture.
“And יהוה Elohim took the man and put him in the garden of Ěḏen to work it and to guard it.”
Berĕshith (Genesis) 2:15 TS2009
“And Elohim blessed them, and Elohim said to them, “Be fruitful and increase, and fill the earth and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over all creeping creatures on the earth.”
Berĕshith (Genesis) 1:28 TS2009
COMMUNITY — INTERDEPENDENCE
“And יהוה Elohim said, “It is not good for the man to be alone, I am going to make a helper for him, as his counterpart.”
Berĕshith (Genesis) 2:18
“And they heard the voice of יהוה Elohim walking about in the garden in the cool of the day, and Aḏam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of יהוה Elohim among the trees of the garden.”
Berĕshith (Genesis) 3:8 TS2009
The story of creation portrays a picture of vulnerability and trust.
I’m Tired of Religion
Religion is the manmade system to access what YAH freely gives. For humans to create an entire system for access to something, it is saying, “I don’t trust the method You (YAH) will choose to give it to me. I don’t trust that You will. I don’t believe that you value me enough to do this for me. You will only do this for me if I make you happy by doing _____.” You do not toil for love. You do not toil for holiness. Love and holiness require work (cultivating and stewarding) — not toil. Vulnerability is the foundation for work.
Think On: If you are unsure as to whether or not you’re toiling, take this opportunity to reflect on the following statements. Write down your thoughts and feelings as you read them.