“No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads” (Rev. 22:3-4).
While we are certainly not living in Eden restored, I felt convicted about how I am living and working while we wait for Jesus’s second coming and the New Earth. Even though we live in a fallen world, there is still much to learn and look forward to through reading this passage. We are given a glimpse of what God intended the earth to be like and how we can still work with these images in mind, even now. What if we all worked unto the Lord as if there was no curse?
“No longer will there be any curse.” Wow. We will finally be able to live and work in the way God intended us to: free from the curse of a broken world. As a scribe, it is very easy to see the physical manifestations of the curse on a daily basis in the workplace. Whether it is carpal tunnel syndrome, a fractured humerus, or a laceration on the palm, the very profession is contingent upon mankind being physically broken, a consequence of the fall and therefore curse. Besides the physical, I have also been able to think about, and struggle with, how the curse is manifested in my workplace in other ways. The competitive nature of the medical field, the intent to bill to higher levels to make a greater profit, and the obsession with maintaining a pristine reputation, are all manifestations of the curse I have come to see in the workplace over the past several months. As I have struggled with these realities while simultaneously trying to incorporate faith and vocation, it has become clear that we do still live in a broken world. However, there will be no curse in the New Earth. None of these earthly motivations will matter anymore. Physical afflictions will cease to exist. Mankind will be whole: there will not be any need for a hand and elbow surgeon, and therefore no need for a scribe! The curse will no longer afflict the very essence of what we were put here on this earth to do: fill the earth and have dominion over the earth. We will be able to serve the throne of God in the way we were made to.
This passage clearly says that his servants will serve Him in Eden restored. We will not serve other gods or our own selfish, earthly ambitions, but serve the Lord wholeheartedly. What’s more, we will see the face of God. My head hurts as I try to think about what that would be like. However, I can trust that it will be pretty awesome. “His name will be on their foreheads.” As I picture in my head what it would be like if today we were physically marked with the name of the Lord, I began to think about what would change in my life. How would my life or my work be different if the name of the Lord was on my forehead? Would I be more willing to share God’s word on the metro on the way to work? What about in the workplace? Would I think twice about groaning when the patients are late or when they are complaining about having an extended wait when we are backed up? Would I be more patient when the work flow of the office is completely screwed up? Would I be more willing to fulfill my duties as a scribe with a joyful heart with a constant reminder of why and to whom I am working? The more I think about the what-if’s, the more I think about how I should work in this way today. I should approach every day, including every work day, as if I had the name of the Lord on my forehead. Even without the physical mark, we are here on this earth to spread the kingdom of God and this can be done in the workplace.
Going a little farther, what if every believer had the name of the Lord on his forehead. Whether in a literal or metaphorical sense, I imagine that if people had the mark of the Lord on their foreheads, the world would be a brighter place. This passage also mentions that light will come from the Lord God in Eden restored. There will be no need for the lamp or the sun, because the light will come from the throne of God. What if we worked in this way, with God as our light and without a need for or dependence on earthly things? To me, this would manifest itself as not relying on earthly means to accomplish something. Instead, we will be free to rest in the fact that everything comes from the Lord and He will light our way, as we navigate both our personal lives and in the workplace.
We are given a pretty good picture of what Eden restored will look like. Although the time has not yet come, we are still able to glean a few ideas about how to live and work as we wait. As I reflect on how to apply this passage to my own life, I can’t help but be excited about the New Earth. How great would it be to live in a world that is free of the curses and brokenness that came from the fall of mankind? Or to live in a world where Jesus sits upon his throne in the middle of everything? While there is much to look forward to in the New Earth, we wait and work as we were made to in the meantime: to glorify the Lord our God and further spread his kingdom.
image: freeimages/jenny w.