Will we work in heaven?

“In all our work, we will be able to envision far more than we can accomplish, both because of a lack of ability and because of resistance in the environment around us…[however] our deepest aspirations in work will come to complete fruition in God’s future”.

This quote from Tim Keller's book Every Good Endeavour captures so well why our work can sometimes be difficult and frustrating. We can dream of doing wonderful things in our work, but sometimes our lack of ability or frustrating circumstances prevent us from doing so. Perhaps you know these frustrations?

However there is a second part to this quote – in the new heavens and the new earth “our deepest aspirations in work will come to complete fruition”. As Keller explains, “There will be work in the paradise of the future just like there was in the paradise of the past [Eden], because God himself takes joy in his work”. Keller is right in suggesting that work won’t disappear in heaven. Work was a joyful part of God's original good creation (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15), so it follows that, like all other things, it too will be renewed and made new (Colossians 1:20, Revelation 21:1-8). I think it is most likely that we will work in heaven, in the way that God always intended us to work - with joy! Indeed there are specific prophecies of the new heavens and the new earth which mention work (Isaiah 2:4,  65:17-23)

For some of us our work might be so difficult and toilsome at the moment that the thought of working for eternity is not a pleasant idea. But work wasn’t always meant to be toilsome. And work won’t always be toilsome. In the new heavens and the new earth we will work as God always intended us to; ruling over and subduing His creation free from toil and difficulty. Work will always be a joy. Those (perhaps fleeting) moments of pleasure that we can have in our work now are a taste of how good work will be in God’s perfect kingdom. As Keller writes, “In that paradise, you will be useful in the lives of others to infinite degrees of joy and satisfaction; and you will perform with all the skill you can imagine”.

This is our hope. In the words of Isaiah 65, when we work in the new heavens and the new earth we “will not toil in vain”. Working God’s creation will be a thrill, a joy, a pleasure. Those hopes and dreams that you have for your work will come to fruition.

“Behold I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create…I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people…They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit…They will not toil in vain” (Isaiah 65: 17-19, 21, 23).

Image courtesy: drdianehamilton.wordpress.com