Avodah is a Hebraic term with a triune meaning. It means work, worship, and service. You have probably already guessed where I’m going with that.
If you guessed that we should worship God not only with prayer and praise, but also with our service to work and people, you are entirely correct.
The term Avodah in Hebrew comes from the pronunciation of Strong’s (H5656) עֲבֹדָה `abodah pronounced a·vō·dä’ meaning = labour, service labour, work labour (of servant or slave) labour, service (of captives or subjects) service (of God). Avodah comes from the root עָבַד Strong’s (H5647) âbad pronounced aw-bad meaning = to work (in any sense); by implication to serve, till, (causatively) enslave, etc.
For some the thought of work as a means of service or worship to the Lord is bizarre.
Satan has convinced the world that because of Adam and Eves fall in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:6-7) that work is a form of punishment full of hardship.
This is a half truth which in essence equals a whole LIE.
Adam and Eve were not cursed like the ground and Satan the Serpent. So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. (Genesis 3:14)
The ground was cursed for the sake of man. God cursed the ground instead of cursing mankind. Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-19)
God had a future planned for mankind in spite of man’s fall. God had a blessing hidden in the seed of man. A Holy seed in the lineage of Adam’s bloodline. The vine upon which the fruit of Jesus Christ’s blood of salvation would restore mankind to paradise.
Thus says the Lord: “As the new wine is found in the cluster, And one says, ‘Do not destroy it, For a blessing is in it,’ So will I do for My servants’ sake, That I may not destroy them all. (Isaiah 65:8)
Adam and Eve were indeed punished but mankind was not cursed. Man was originally put in the garden to work for God!
God cursed the ground forcing man not to look down for his blessings, but to look up, for it comes from God.
Our work is not a curse. Our work is our worship service for God. God made man to worship and serve Him!
Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to (tend = H5647 âbad) and keep it. (Genesis 2:15)
Ergazomai is a Greek word equivalent to the Hebrew term Avodah.
Strong’s (G2038) ἐργάζομαι ergazomai pronounced er-gad’-zom-ahee. Which comes from the obsolete Strong’s (G2041); to toil (as a task, occupation, etc.), (by implication) effect, be engaged in or with, etc.: – commit, do, labor for, minister about, trade (by), work.
Jesus healed a man at the Pool of Bethesda (John 5:8) on the Sabbath. Anyone could be healed if only they were the first to enter the water after an angel had stirred it (John 5:4). The man Jesus healed had his infirmity for 38 years. This man was not only obediently lying there at the pool waiting on God to instruct His angel to stir the water. The sad part is, he was being abused by all who pushed him aside to be first (John 5:7).
This great multitude of people were all working hard vying to be the first to enter the waters and be healed (John 5:3). Is this truly a Sabbath day of rest? Pushing, shoving, watching, waiting, all fighting to be the first!
Jesus healed this man on the Sabbath Day through His true work-related worship in service to God’s Glory and blessings giving a man healing rest. This man found the Sabbath Day’s Rest.
For this the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, for giving Holy Sabbath rest of healing to a man. Furthermore, they were even more insensitive to the man who was healed, complaining that he had broken the law by carrying his bed (John 5:10). Was it not work for all of them to be there in the first place?
The man who received healing surely did not consider it work to finally have the ability to walk and carry anything, let alone his bed. It most certainly brought Jesus great joy and satisfaction to be the conduit of the healing that glorified God the Father. Proving and providing mercy and love was not carnal work for Jesus at all.
For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him. Jesus tried to explain to these legalistic idiots the difference between work and Avodah worship service for God. Jesus gave and answer they were not willing to accept.
because He had done these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working (G2038 ergazomai) until now, and I have been working.” (G2038 ergazomai) (John 5:16-17)
We, ‘like Jesus’ are made in the image of God. Likewise our service to Him should be a way of life, that does not isolated our faith life from our work life. This separation is not the example that Jesus clearly taught.
This separation is a western philosophy perverted by Satan to prevent Believers from having an intimate relationship with God. Other cultures observe appointed times to pray throughout the entire day.
Would it not be better for all, if there were no separation of Church and State?
Would it not be better for all, if we put Jesus back into our schools?
Would it not be better for all, if we learned from our Messianic Jewish brothers and prayed at work?
Jesus showed us by example that it does not matter what day it is, or where we are in our call to serve the Lord. Jesus taught us to continually be about our work no matter what our environment, or what the multitudes around us may think.
One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. (Romans 14:5)
I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:4-5)
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
What kind of Work?
Let us not confuse the difference between spiritual work and earthly carnal work for money and gain.
Avodah is a continuous way of service and work as a form of worship that reveals God in our lives and to others for His glory. This is the way Jesus lived His life and conducted His Ministry. This at times can be extremely hard work that tests our resolve to live a Christ-Like life.
Earthly work for money and selfish gains are the forms of work in which God lovingly placed restrictions to help protect us from ourselves and preserve our mental and physical health.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:8-11)
There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. (Hebrews 4:9)
In Jesus we can have freedom from the struggle and grind of the ‘nine to five’ work day. Turning it into meaningful, enjoyable work and achievement. Work is not meant to be a place of sweat and toil, but an expression of our love, faith and adoration of Jesus Christ.
You may have heard the phrase, “Do everything as Unto the Lord.” While this is not a bible verse, it is an adaptation from a verse, And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:17)
God calls us to do our work as an act of worship and service for Him. Today, before you work, ask God to help you see your work in an Avodah way. Ask how you can worship Him in your service to glorify Him and be an example to others.
Be bold, be strong, be a blessing, and be blessed. Serve the Lord all day everyday in every way. Be cognizant of the Lord in your work life as well as your private life. Show continuity of you faith and love for Jesus. Be the witness that draws others to God.
And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
Believers must acknowledge that worshiping God is not meant for just one day. Worshiping God is a constant way of life. Meant for every second of every day of our lives.
We must however, take a Sabbath Day of Rest. The Sabbath is not made Holy by anything man can do. It is kept Holy by what man does not do; Just Rest and be with the Lord.