For those of you who like it short and sweet, here’s the breakdown: Work Matters.
In his book Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church N.T. Wright writes:
“The point of the resurrection… is that the present bodily life is not valueless just because it will die… What you do with your body in the present matters because God has a great future in store for it… What you do in the present—by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbor as yourself—will last into God's future. These activities are not simply ways of making the present life a little less beastly, a little more bearable, until the day when we leave it behind altogether (as the hymn so mistakenly puts it…). They are part of what we may call building for God's kingdom.”
Back during my days at Covenant College this was drilled into our heads over and over again. “Calling” was the term that was thrown around - this divided into our “Big C” calling (believing and following our Creator) and our “little c” callings (our relationships, activities, passions and, yes, our work).
The divide between the sacred and the secular breaks down when we view our vocation thru the lens of the kingdom. (I wrote more about the holistic redemption narrative a few months ago in a blogpost here: https://worththefightingfor.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/holistic-redemption/)
Check out this video by RightNow Ministries:
To pursue work that falls within our passions and is directed in a manner meant to build the kingdom and glorify our Maker is a solid, meaningful thing. That’s why it’s so cool to me when I see those who work towards providing others, particularly the oppressed or those who lack opportunity, with opportunities for meaningful work. Work can give dignity, power for the powerless, opportunity, joy, and the pride that comes with doing a job well. This can be truly transformative. If Christ-directed work can be a conduit for worship, then providing work for the impoverished or oppressed can be a work of worship in and of itself, perhaps even exponentially so.
Organizations like Freeset and Sari Bari that provide jobs for women coming out of sex trafficking, or the efforts of my own little team in India, working to start a café and bakery for the same purpose, have the potential to transform people and places both in physical circumstances and in hearts. When organizations like Work of Worth are able to import and sell products made by entrepreneurs across the globe – the capital of those profits can be used to grow those little companies, providing more jobs with fair wages and opportunities around the world. Work, worship, and justice, are quite often intertwined.