Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Your work matters to God

I'm reading, Your work matters to God by Doug Sherman and William Hendricks (NavPress, 1987).  Sherman and Hendricks discuss a biblical view of work and offer insights into working for the Greater Glory of God in the secular world.

It is a refreshing book.  A renewal of the Great Reform theology on the place of work in the Kingdom of God.  Nothing is secular to God.  He is concerned with feeding, clothing and sheltering each person -- the poor as well as the rich.  When we join him in His work of providing for the needs of people and prospering our communities we are engaged in a sacred task, as much as the professional pastor is engaged in a sacred task.  90% of the church works to meet the physical needs of people and part of that task is meeting the spiritual needs as well through friendship, caring and compassion. (I John 3:17, 18.)

When we prayerfully made the decision to leave the workforce and move away from the city to Joybilee Farm to create our living with our hands, a Baptist Pastor told us that we were outside of God's will because the job of all Christians was to earn as much money as possible to support the work of the professional pastor.  "NOT!",  my heart said.  At the time Robin, my hubby, was engaged in full time Christian service, teaching accounting at a Christian University for a pittance in comparison to what his salary would be at a secular university.  He was working 60 hours or more a week and teaching 4 upper level accounting courses.  When he resigned from teaching it was a relief.  My children actually saw their father during daylight hours.

The university pay scale rewarded the professional ministers at the top with 6 digit salaries -- the president, vice presidents and theologians.  Those engaged in teaching business were told that they were sacrificing to equip the saints for the work of the kingdom and they should be content.  Because the important work was being done by the pastors, university presidents, theologians, and missionaries.  The job of business was to support the real work of the Kingdom of God...and equip students, who would one day be alumni, to make as much money as possible.  "NOT!"

According to my Bible, God is concerned about the work we accomplish with our hands as much as he is concerned for the salvation of the lost and the temporal needs of widows and orphans. Sherman and Hendricks' book gives a biblical examination of the double tier view of secular or sacred work prevalent in the church today, that places more value on the work of pastors, evangelists and missionaries, a middle value on the helping professionals -- counselors, medical professionals, teachers, and much less value on business, and agricultural work and the least value on artistic work.  This book calls the church back to the biblical and reformed view of all work as a sacred call from God -- good works that God has prepared in advance for you to walk in.

Although this book is 20 years old there is a movement in the larger Christian church today to value and affirm Businessmen and women in their calling and to equip them to bring the good news to the poor and needy.  

This book is an affirmation of God's call to work for the other 90% of us.

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