How does the work you do reflect your faith? How can we integrate our work and faith?
There are a number of possible answers to this question.
Work and belief are separate…..?
The first is that the two- work and your belief in Christ as your Lord and Saviour – are completely separate. In fact, you would argue they should be separate. Work is something you have to do to pay the bills. It’s not as if your work is immoral or unlawful and that you are sinning because of your work. Religion is, after all, a private matter between you and God.
Social justice and work
Another response is that because of the type of work you, you integrate your faith and work. You work for an NGO perhaps, or are involved in the corporate social responsibility portfolio in your company, do some volunteer work, or are saving the planet in some way. And you run a bible study group at work, and that is how you reach out to the unsaved. In your small group on a weekday evening you talk and pray about the work you and others in the group do (and try and resist the temptation to gossip about people at work, your boss especially).
Performing work that is regarded as inherently moral, such as teaching, nursing, carpentry (Jesus was a carpenter you know), caring for the aged and sick -is surely how one integrates your faith and work, you might also argue. Whereas some work, such as being a lawyer 1, or working in a casino, are not the kind of work you would expect a Christian to do.
The dictates of our culture
I would suggest that when we see work as something separate to our faith, or religiously classify some work as ‘godly’ and others as less so we miss the point entirely. While the views expressed above are not intended as a reflection of those held by all Christ followers, they do -I hope- shed some light on one of the reasons why we fail to integrate our faith and work.
That reason is because we follow and accept what our culture accepts as good when it comes to the work we do. Keller on the other hand points out that “The Bible teems with wisdom, resources and hope for anyone who is learning to work, trying to work, or going to work”.2
What I will be trying to do then in these short discussions is to extract the wisdom, resources and particularly hope available to us.
Come along for the ride!
1. Confession: I am a lawyer. (Sorry!)
2. Timothy Keller, Every Good Endeavour: connecting your work to God’s plan for the world. I am using the Kindle version. This quote is from page 24.