Read: Revelation 22:1-5

No longer will there be anything accursed. (v. 3)

In 1969, a 29-year-old Japanese newspaper shipping department worker suffered a fatal stroke at work. This was the first diagnosed case of death from overwork. In the years that followed, so many cases were recorded that the Japanese medical community coined a term: karoshi. Literally, “overwork death.” In Genesis 3, God pronounces a consequence of humanity’s fall into sin: “Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life” (Gen. 3:17). Karoshi is the curse, embodied. Without work, we die. Until we die, we must work. The ever-present threat of death forces us to keep working, at times restlessly and relentlessly.

But the curse is not forever. Even as God utters the curse, he hints at its undoing. God reversed death, sin’s first consequence, by sending Jesus, the woman’s offspring, to crush death at the cross. In the end, God will reverse painful toil, sin’s second consequence, by restoring creation’s original goodness. In the book of Revelation, we see a day in which there is no longer any curse, creation once again overflows with abundance, redeemed humanity basks in the presence of God, and those who labored mightily reign with the Lamb.

If it feels as though you toil without rest or reward, take heart. Your pain is not forever and your labor is not in vain. Your Lord suffered for you, and labors alongside you. He has already established the renewal and rest that is our reward. —Ben Van Arragon

Prayer: Lord, thank you for reversing the curse and redeeming us.