3 Plates to Spin in the Vocation Conversation

Bernard N. Howard | September 19, 2017

Sometimes to understand the Bible rightly we need to be like a circus performer who keeps different plates spinning on sticks. If we focus too much on one biblical truth, others will begin to wobble and fall.

This is certainly the case when we connect our faith to our daily work. Three biblical “plates” must be kept spinning simultaneously.

Plate 1: God’s Creation Mandate

In the first chapter of the Bible, Adam and Eve are given an assignment: “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it’” (Gen. 1:28). The world God created, although very good (Gen. 1:31), wasn’t the finished article. It needed, and still needs, “subduing.”

Put differently, the world was designed to reach its optimal state through cultivation. It was delivered to us in flat-packed form, like furniture from IKEA that requires further assembly. It can be satisfying to earn a living through realizing creation’s inherent potential; nevertheless, because of the fall, we should expect all work to be painful toil (Gen. 3:17–19).

When work causes irreparable environmental harm, or profits from the exploitation of people, it cannot be done to the glory of God. The creation mandate speaks of subduing the earth, not plundering it.


To read the rest of this article, visit https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/3-plates-to-spin-in-vocation-conversation.