Most people spend a large proportion of their life at work – whether in an office, a factory, a public institution, outdoors or at home. These different places reflect the glorious variety of God’s creation, and the diversity of gifts and abilities that He gives.
For Christians, the world of work is where they try to discover what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
In caring for others, handling the earth’s natural resources or working for social justice, our daily efforts are just as much part of our discipleship as our worship in church on a Sunday. Whatever our position at work we are responsible for the decisions we make, the actions we take, and the way they will affect others, either locally or globally. Our behaviour will speak volumes about what we believe.
The following Bible passages talk about work:
- 1 Corinthians 12:12-26
St Paul writes about the diversity of gifts and abilities that make up the church; his description is just as applicable to the world of work. Think about what particular gifts you bring to you work, and contrast them with those your colleagues bring. There is no need for everyone to have the same gifts; all of us contribute something different; every gift is precious and we all need to learn to work together for the good of all.
- 2 Corinthians 4: 6-10
Here St Paul writes about the challenges in his work as a preacher travelling around the Mediterranean. He doesn’t try to run away from the difficulties he faces, but takes the good with the bad identifying these tensions with the pattern of death and resurrection. What are the challenges facing you at work? Can you ride the waves?
- Colossians 3:12-17
The Christian approach is not just for a Sunday; it affects all we do and are every day of the week. Everything can become the subject of prayer. All work is of value to God. We need to offer up the world of work to God.
We don’t believe…
- that working harder will get us to heaven. We are saved by God’s free gift of grace which we receive through faith, not by our own efforts.
- that earning more or being more successful is necessarily a sign that we are blessed by God. Success and wealth can be gained and used in both good and bad ways, and God is more interested in the state of our hearts than the state of our wallets.
- that being a Christian means we should isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. As Christians, we are called to participate fully in life, not to separate ourselves away from it into “holy huddles”.