The Gap

God could easily give you grain and fruit without your plowing and planting, but he does not want to do so.
— Martin Luther, as quoted in Every Good Endeavor

Why did God give us needs? He has provided so much - space and time, earth and air, biology and chemistry, our environment, gravity, sun, digestion, plants, and so on. Why stop there? Why did he create beings who need to eat, and a world that produces food, and leave this gap in which we need to work? 

To be clear, I don’t know the answer.  

But in preparing for this series on faith and work, I was reminded many times that we are deeply interdependent. It’s extremely rare to truly work by yourself, for yourself, with tools and techniques you created yourself. No one can meet their own needs alone as well as a community can meet the needs of its members.

What if the reason we have needs is so that we have to work together to meet them? Work is clearly essential to life. But it’s also not the point of life. What is? Worshipping God and loving your neighbor. How do we worship? In prayer and song, by remembering and considering the words of God, and by loving our neighbors.

How do we love our neighbors? One way is by meeting their needs, through our work and by giving from our surplus. By sharing with others from what God has given us, we get to play a role in how God cares for them. 

Work meets needs. The kingdom is built as we meet needs well while relating to people well.

God is the point, but he has given us needs, the ability to meet them for each other, and daily opportunities to care for people (or not) as we interact in meeting those needs. The existence of this gap is a call to fill it, a call to work, and to do so in a manner that points to the creator and sustainer of all life. The gap is for his glory.