Most people spend most of their waking hours working. Is it possible to enjoy waking up each morning? We need a vision of work that is more than a means to an end.
Work is all meaningful and moral activity apart from leisure and rest. Paid and unpaid, labor and leadership, factory and field, home and office – it all matters to God and our world. Parenting is work! God ordained work BEFORE we fell into sin, commissioning our stewardship of the world and cultivation of creation (Genesis 1-2). Sin has corrupted our work, introducing greed and oppression, sweat and toil (Genesis 3; Ecclesiastes 4; Amos 2, 5 and James 5).
Throughout the Scriptures, creative, diligent, and ethical work is praised. But by the third century of church history, the sacred-secular dichotomy (SSD) was introduced and “spiritual” callings and labors were deemed more sacred that “lay” or “secular” labors. Praise God for dedicated women and men called to lead the Body of Christ and initiate evangelistic and missionary efforts across the street and around the world. They are worthy of honor and financial support (Galatians 6; Philippians 1). But no member of the Body of Christ is unimportant or inferior and no good work is “secular” anymore! Romans 12:1-2 and Colossians 3: 17-24 make it clear that our whole life is worship…and since we spend most of our waking hours working, this must be an offering to God.
Friends, thank you for all your good work, seen and unseen. The Holy Spirit is preparing an awakening unlike anything we have seen for at least 200 years. And one of the keys (along with prayer, repentance, love, and unity) is recognizing that God’s mission takes place through the entire Body of Christ – most of whom work all day/week. We must close the gap between Sunday’s ecstasies and Monday’s ethics, and offer all our daily activities as worship. The same gifts of the Spirit in operation as we gather in churches and homes are available as we go out in mission…at work! In fact, we should expect more supernatural signs as we are outside of religious gatherings, for God wants all to come to faith and Jesus did not perform for religious consumers (see Mark 6 and Luke 7).
We have been involved with a variety of faith and work movements since the early 1990s and we are encouraged by the kingdom progress as ALL classes and cultures, traditions and vocations are now being honored and empowered. Charlie works for Made to Flourish (www.madetoflourish.org), where the focus is empowering pastors and their churches to integrate faith, work, and economic wisdom for the flourishing of their communities. Charlie’s work with AGTS includes leading several initiatives that integrate faith, work and economic wisdom into the curriculum and community of the seminary. AGTS will be hosting its first Faith, Work and Economics Summit on October 15 (www.agts.edu). Charlie is on the steering team for the Oikonomia Network (www.oikonomianetwork.org), a group of colleges, seminaries, and universities equipping present and future ministers with this same integration. We are honored being Board members for Vine Associates, one facet of an amazing mission lead by Brett and Lyn Johnson. They are being used by God to reimagine and refocus mission to include transforming all facets of society (see the sites: www.repurposing.biz and www.inst.net). Charlie is a Board member of Missio Alliance, another network of networks dedicated to reimagining Gospel-centered mission for the 21st century (www.missioalliance.org). We are also participants and presenters in events sponsored by the Acton institute, dedicated to a free and virtuous society, integrating good intentions and sound economics and uniting women and men of a variety of traditions (www.acton.org)
Let’s offer our day as an act of worship, knowing that today/s discipline is tomorrow’s destiny.