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Faith at work

Faith at work

How we work—in the context of our particular culture, time in history, vocation, and organization—is something we all need to be thinking through in our own communities. But the answers will all hang on this essential theology: the knowledge of who God is, his relation to man, his plan for the world, and how the good news (or gospel) of Christ turns our lives and the way we work upside down.”
Katherine Leary Asldorf in “Every Good Endeavour: connecting your work to God’s plan for the world”, Timothy Keller, Hodder& Stroughton 2012.

To my fellow Christ followers

The gospel changes us, right? We are ‘used by God’ in our relationships with others, right? So how do you show/tell/ make it known that you are a Christian at your place of work?

Do you

  • Keep a Bible on your desk, hoping that someone in the office would ask about it?
  • Pray for your company, especially before pay day?
  • Pray aloud at every meal in the company canteen to show that you are a Christian?
  • Think your job is a means to make money so that you can give some of it away to charities and NGO’s that do “good work”?
  • Think that you only really serve God by working in the Church – as a missionary, priest or ‘full time’ worker?
  • Your job is just a job, it has little to do with what you do on a Sunday?

Not your spiritual gift?

Are you told by your pastor, minister or priest that your sole mission at work and in the workplace is to evangelise other employees? And is your response: but evangelism is not my ‘spiritual gift”?

None of these approaches address the issue of how Christians’ faith affect the way we work.

Do you agree that:-

  • The gospel assures me that God cares about everything I do and will listen to my prayers. He may not answer them the way I want, but if he doesn’t it is because he knows things I do not. My degree of success or failure is part of his good plan for me. God is my source of strength and perseverance.
  • The gospel reminds us that God cares about the products we make, the companies we work for, and the customers we serve. He not only loves us, but also loves the world and wants us to serve it well. My work is a critical way in which God is caring for human beings and renewing his world. God gives us our vision and our hope.
  • The gospel is good news. In the words of pastor and counselor Jack Miller, “Cheer up: You’re a worse sinner than you ever dared imagine, and you’re more loved than you ever dared hope.” In other words, I will continually err and sin, and yet God will prevail in my life through his goodness and grace.
  • The gospel gives meaning to our work as leaders. We’re supposed to treat all people and their work with dignity. We’re to create an environment in which people can flourish and use their God-given gifts to contribute to society. We’re to embody grace, truth, hope, and love in the organizations we create.
  • We’re to express our relationship with God and his grace to us in the way we speak, work, and lead, not as perfect exemplars but as pointers to Christ.
    Katherine Leary Asldorf in “Every Good Endeavour: connecting your work to God’s plan for the world”, Timothy Keller, Hodder& Stroughton 2012.

Ideas about work

Most of us have absorbed ideas about work such as that work is a necessary evil- we work to make money to support our families and pay others to do the stuff we hating doing –like the dishes and ironing clothes.

We think –and often say- that some jobs are better than others: why be a teacher [a teacher? You must be crazy -or not very clever- shame heh?] when you could be a marketing manager?

People who do work deemed by our society [and society is made up of us, isn’t it] to have lower status and are paid less are regarded as being unfortunate [‘She’s a domestic worker- well at least she’s employed”].

Would it surprise you to find that these ideas go back to the ancient Greeks? That’s right Aristotle and Plato and the Boys. So why do we STILL repeat these as if they are home truths?

Follow these blogs and embark on a journey of discovery and enlightenment as we uncover the truths of the gospel and learn together to apply them to our work.

Note and disclaimer

This blog is highly influenced by Timothy Keller’s book, “Every Good Endeavour: connecting your work to God’s plan for the world”, published by Hodder& Stroughton 2012

Faith at work

Faith at Work Living out the gospel at work

To my fellow Christ followers!

A million or more South Africans attend a prayer meeting called on short notice. Amazing! Most of those are involved in a range of workplaces, from farms to factories, open plan offices to private cubicles in climate controlled environments.

Yet many Christians are not able to link their work to their faith; there is a disconnect between the two, it is as if we live in two parallel universes. For too long have we set our beliefs at the workplace door when we arrive at work on a Monday, only to pick up our mantel of religion on a Sunday. We have allowed others to determine the agenda and set the rules. We pay our employees low rates of pay and justify this by pointing to the economy as if this is out of our control. We have turned the Gospel of our loving Father into religious dogma used to beat down and enslave others.

It is a central aim of the Labour Law Academy to help Christians to see the relevance of their work to their faith, and their faith to their work. For that reason, and in furtherance of the gospel, there is a section dealing with this. It is intended as a provocation to fellow Christ followers and as a means of revealing the gospel to those who seek the truth.

We argue in these pages that all work -including so called secular work- is as much a calling from God as the ministry of the priest. When we work, we are the ‘fingers of God’, the agents of his providential love for others. If we see work like this the purpose of work becomes elevated from making a living to loving our neighbour and releases us from the crushing burden of working primarily to prove ourselves. By becoming God-centred in all aspects of our lives we learn to treat all others with respect and build a society which thrives.

There are two resources which I highly recommend: the God at Work site, which is linked to Alpha and the work of Nicky Gumble. The second is the Faith and Work Alliance, a South African based work linked to Gospel in Life and Tim Keller. I have place links to both below.

Yours in Christ

Sean

To my skeptical friends!

If you read this and are skeptical of the claims of Christ, then we challenge you to find out more about the Gospel, the good news which motivates and builds our love of our God and of our neighbour. Your life will never be the same!

Thoughts about faith at work

How we work—in the context of our particular culture, time in history, vocation, and organization—is something we all need to be thinking through in our own communities. But the answers will all hang on this essential theology: the knowledge of who God is, his relation to man, his plan for the world, and how the good news (or gospel) of Christ turns our lives and the way we work upside down.” Katherine Leary Asldorf in “Every Good Endeavour: connecting your work to God’s plan for the world”, Timothy Keller, Hodder& Stroughton 2012.

To my fellow Christ followers:-

The gospel changes us, right? We are ‘used by God’ in our relationships with others, right? So how do you show/tell/ make it known that you are a Christian at your place of work?

Do you

  • Keep a Bible on your desk, hoping that someone in the office would ask about it?
  • Pray for your company, especially before pay day?
  • Pray aloud at every meal in the company canteen to show that you are a Christian?
  • Think your job is a means to make money so that you can give some of it away to charities and NGO’s that do “good work”?READ MORE

Why work? the motivations of the heart

Galatians 1:10

What motivates our work?

I would suggest we work for one of two reasons: either we work for ourselves, or we work for God. This is the Gospel: either we worship ourselves or we worship God. Our hearts are geared to worship: the question is what do we worship?

Furthermore, if we work for ourselves, part of that motivation is to win the approval of others. In this sense we are looking over our shoulders to see the reaction of our work colleagues, and the circle we associate with outside of work. We need approval- we crave approval of people.

If we work for God, the Gospel produces confident and fearless followers of Jesus, doing what is right without concern for the approval and good opinion of others#. We do not change our heart motivation by manufacturing a rule: ‘Thou shall not work to win the approval of others’. Too often this is how the gospel is taught: we want rulesso that we can look down on others and measure them against ourselves, and we always come out on top!

What does it mean “to work for God”?

READ MORE…. 

Motivations image

Does your work reflect your faith?

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 ….

READ MORE…..

Faith at work

 

More thoughts for Christ Followers about applying our faith to our work CLICK HERE

Want to know more?

If you want to know more, contact me. I can assist with workshops or small groups in which we discuss the application of the Gospel to our work, and support each other in this.

Yours in Christ

Sean