Heaven Isn’t Our Eternal Escape from Work

Only on our best days do we get a glimpse of the joyful labor to come.

There’s an old saying regarding work: “Find something you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

It’s a nice idea—albeit a tall order to achieve. Some jobs are harder to love than others, and even the most meaningful work can exhaust or frustrate us. Our relationships with work can be complicated; even the most diligent among us succumb to quitting fantasies from time to time.

And often, the demands of life mean we can’t devote ourselves to finding work we love to do. We simply have to do the work necessary. Stacks of bills don’t care about our job satisfaction or our inherent gifts. That weird pink mold growing in the shower doesn’t take vacations. A good few of us are doing jobs we don’t love to do, and we may very well be doing them until the Lord returns.

Most of us picture endless years of vacation in the New Jerusalem. In the ongoing debate over whether the best vacations happen in the mountains or at the beach, the oceanless description of the new heavens and earth has threatened more than one saint’s concept of eternal bliss. But no matter the landscape, few think of the hereafter as a place of work.

For many, heaven is the ultimate quitting fantasy. After all, it’s the eternal Sabbath where we cease our labors, right? Well, yes and no.

Revelation 14:13 does promise that the saints will “rest from their labor.” But in Revelation, that word labor means “toil,” as in the travail of persecution the saints will face in this life.

In Isaiah 65, God speaks of work occurring in the new creation:

[My people] will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. … My chosen ones will …

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