culture

For Graduates: God’s Ancient Blueprint for Your Life and Work

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By Nathaniel Williams

Graduates, your senior year didn’t go according to plan. You’d hoped for a senior prom and graduation. You expected to spend these days with your classmates, cherishing these final moments you’d have together. Alas, things turned out differently.

Nevertheless, you are a 2020 graduate. Some of you will enroll in college or graduate school, while others will enter the workforce. But even though your senior year didn’t go according to the blueprints, God has an even greater blueprint for your life, one that he designed long ago for you and every other human on the planet.

So, as you embark on this next chapter of your life, let’s look at God’s ancient blueprint for your life and your work.

Will you influence others to be more loving, just, generous and hope-filled — or less?

1. Influence others for Christ.

Upon creating human beings and declaring them made “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27), God gives these simple yet profound commands:

And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth… (Genesis 1:28a)

On the surface, he’s telling them to be married and have children. But perhaps something deeper is going on here.

God designed us to yearn to be in relationship with other humans, so the people who would result from God’s mandated “fruitfulness” would be compelled to form communities. And a curious thing happens when people get together. They talk, laugh and sing. They cook food and play games. They make plans and do things together. In other words, in those moments of togetherness, they create something bigger than the sum of the parts. They create culture.

God’s call, then, to fill the earth is a call to have children. But it’s also a call to fill the earth with culture.

Graduate, here’s what this means for you. Because you are made in the image of God, you influence and create culture everywhere you go. As you embark on your next journey, you will influence those around you — for better or worse. Will you influence others to be more loving, just, generous and hope-filled — or less? Will you influence them to look more like Jesus — or less?

Our communities, workplaces and schools are starving for people to live godly lives and bring a Christ-honoring influence. Commit today to living for God’s glory so you can influence your communities for good — and so you can fulfill God’s blueprint for your life.

Your community, workplace, church and family need you to influence culture for the better and work in a way that brings God glory.

2. Work for God’s glory.

God’s commands continue:

…and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth. (Genesis 1:28b)

God instructs these people to subdue the earth and have dominion over creation. In other words, God has packed his creation with potential, and he called them to do something with it. Like a child opening a box of LEGOs and building a tower, so too were humans to take the metals, rocks, wood and other ingredients and make something from them.

Not long after, we see Adam obeying God’s command by “[working] the garden and [keeping] it” (Genesis 2:15). And future generations of humans continued this tradition — using animals for farming, milk, wool and food; using trees as wood for construction; using rocks as tools or building blocks. And on and on the list goes.

By charging them to subdue the earth and have dominion over creation, God was compelling them to be like him, giving form to the formless, bringing order to chaos.

Graduates, you have the same task. Some of you will go on to make tangible goods with God’s creation. Others of you will work with numbers and mathematic equations. Perhaps you’ll build and tinker with technologies. Maybe you’ll create art and make the world more beautiful. When you do these things, you are like your Maker. You bear the image of God, and you’re fulfilling God’s commands for you to subdue and have dominion. You’re working for God’s glory — so you can fulfill God’s blueprint for your life.

Remember the Gospel

Sadly, sin has tainted our ability to fulfill God’s blueprint purposes for our lives. Now, when we fill the earth, the cultures we create are tainted by sin. Now, when we subdue the earth, the structures we build are imperfect and too often unjust. Simply, things are not as they should be. Recent days have shown us this truth more clearly than ever before.

But when we repent and believe and live our lives in submission to Jesus, we can begin to fill the earth with more just and godly cultures, and we can recover the dignity and value of work.

Graduates, your plans may not have worked out like you hoped. But God has big plans for you. Your community, workplace, church and family need you to influence culture for the better and work in a way that brings God glory. This, after all, is God’s good blueprint for your life.

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Nathaniel Williams

Editor and Content Manager for the CFC

Nathaniel Williams (M.Div, Southeastern Seminary) oversees the website, podcast and social media for the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture, and he serves as the pastor of Cedar Rock First Baptist Church. His work has appeared at Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, Fathom Mag, the ERLC and BRNow.org. He and his family live in rural North Carolina.

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