And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him… Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord…
Colossians 3:17, 23
St. Paul writes that whatever our task, it can glorify God when we do it with thanksgiving. What is your task right now? Are you harvesting a field, holding your child, baking bread, or repairing a vehicle? When rightly ordered, the tasks of our hands are offerings of worship and thanksgiving to the Lord.
God ordered his creation as good, and he considers us as very good co-creators with him. His instruction to “be fruitful and multiply” applies to more than procreation. He has instilled within us a very good desire to innovate: in other words, to multiply his beauty and goodness in every corner of his creation.
There’s not an animal alive that finds a cave to live in and immediately thinks, “Now, what can I do to improve the place?” But we do! God put the first man and woman in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and care for it as an act of thanksgiving and worship of God (Genesis 2:15). We, too, worship him with thanksgiving as we cultivate and care for our corners of this world by beautifying it. What a privilege! What a responsibility!
So how do we do that? We join hands, so to speak, in co-creating with God according to the unique giftedness he has blessed us each with. Whether right brain or left brain, artistic or analytical, we multiply God’s beauty, goodness, and truth with the work of our hands. My friend is an investor; he delights in helping people invest wisely. Another friend is an artist; she is delighted to give her paintings to neighbors and friends. Creating and giving, isn’t this another way of participating with God?
In the Sacred Tradition of our faith, we worship in the Mass, celebrating Christ, our Lord. There, our response to our salvation is a liturgy of praise and thanksgiving that we pray in word and song. The last words of the prayer of the Mass are “The Mass is ended. Go, in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.” And we respond, “Thanks be to God.” We don’t walk out of the worship of God as if our thanksgiving has ended. No, we continue our worship of him as the Lord of our life in the liturgy (its etymology means “work”) of our daily lives.
This is the beautiful reciprocity of the worship of God: God is delighted by our worship, and he pours that delight back into our lives as we co-create with him in the work of our hands. Our work is a favor from our Creator, a favor that keeps on giving.
The psalmist writes, “May the favor of the Lord our God be ours. Prosper the work of our hands!” (Ps 90:17). Favor is an act of kindness beyond what is usual, but another definition of favor is to bear a resemblance to someone. Aren’t we doing that with the work of our hands as we co-create with our heavenly Father?
Consider that our God, in the work of creation, made all things purposeful, perfect and valuable for us. And I believe it was quite enjoyable and satisfying for him to do that! It was all a favor for us. As we participate with him in co-creating, we too, enjoy the work of our hands, finding it satisfying and enjoyable and then gifting it to others.
My God-given abilities and talents bring order to my life, enriching my corner of the world. As I co-create, I am calmed and balanced in the rhythm of the abundant life in God. As I give my gifts and abilities to others, they may join in the rhythm of this abundant life as well. And yes, God favors me with the sanity that comes with it!