Work. Some of us hate work, and we bide our time each week until the weekend. Others of us idolize work, spending all our waking hours in productive bursts. But what does the Bible say about work?
David W. Jones answers this question (and more) in his book Every Good Thing (Lexham, 2016). In it, Jones explores how the Bible’s teaching on the material realm affects so many aspects of life, and he helps you develop a more robust worldview of the physical world around you.
Here are seven quotes from Jones’ book on faith and work.
How we get work wrong.
Our daily labor is one of the most important ways in which we can functionally bear the image of God in the material world. Misunderstanding this concept will have grave practical consequences: Rather than being masters of our work, we will become its slaves; rather than ruling over our work, our work will rule over us. This is not God’s plan or design for his children. (28)
On the sacred-secular divide in faith and work.
[T]his division between so-called sacred and secular employment is not found in Scripture. Certainly the work of the clergy is functionally different than the work of the laity, but the same could be said in comparing any two types or categories of work. The Bible teaches that regardless of the type(s) of work in which we are employed, all believers are a part of a royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:9), are engaged in kingdom work (Luke 11:2), and are to labor for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31). Thus, both pastor and plumber are doing the Lord’s work. (29)
How Christianity’s view of work is different.
Christianity is different from all other world religions in that it does not teach that sin entered the world after a golden age of leisure, nor does it teach that the afterlife will include the cessation of labor. Indeed, in the ancient biblical world, Christianity must have seemed odd in its view of work. The Roman gods were divine rulers, the Greek gods where philosopher-kings, and the Judeo-Christian God was a carpenter. (31)
How God uses vocations to care for and rule the world.
God uses vocations to care for and rule the world. We often err in thinking of God as being far above the created order or residing solely within us. Given the repetitive patterns of life, it can be tempting to believe that the world runs on its own, and we often neglect to think of God as presently and continually working in the world through his people in ordinary ways…. Martin Luther rightly said that vocations are the mask of God through which he provides for the world. (41)
On the importance of work.
Those who are able to work should labor to provide for themselves and for their families. This is God’s good design for humanity. (43)
The Roman gods were divine rulers, the Greek gods where philosopher-kings, and the Judeo-Christian God was a carpenter.Click to tweet