Faith @ work
It is tough to differentiate Christians from non Christians in the workplace and one may wonder whether the people one finds in Church on Sundays are different from those one finds in the workplace on a Monday morning.
If they are the same people, why is there such a great disconnect between Sunday and Monday workplace Christians?
In other words, why does faith and work seem estranged? Do people view work as a curse and think their work doesn’t matter to God, but they must suffer silently this punishment that befall man after the fall to survive? Have they instead turned their work into an idol, expecting it to provide them with their identity and purpose in life as well as a source of joy and fulfillment and see their faith only as a ticket to get them to heaven which has no connection with their work.? If not, why are there so many undercover Christians in the workplace?
To answer the above questions, lets try to understanding the story of creation.
Stories shape the way we view reality. If we get the story wrong, our response will be wrong and we will make wrong decisions.
If we get the story of creation and work wrong, we will see work as a curse, work as competition, work as accumulation of wealth, work as a path to self-actualization or self-fulfillment; but if we get the story right, we will see work as a blessing and a way to express God’s image within us.
In the story “The Man Who Was Thursday” by Gilbert K. Chesterton, the character called Syme asks, “Shall I tell you the secret of the whole world? It is that we have only known the back of the world. We see everything from behind, and it looks brutal. That is not a tree, but the back of a tree. That is not a cloud, but the back of a cloud. Cannot you see that everything is stooping and hiding a face? If we could only get round in front”
Like Syme in this story, one of the problems of the work/faith estrangement is we don’t understand the story and we see everything stooping and hiding a face:
In Genesis, work was the first assignment to man. Gen. 1:28 God blessed both man and woman and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the animals” (Gen.1:26) “use plants for food” (Gen 1:29-30) “till the garden and keep it… name the animals.” (Genesis 2:15, 19-20)
To subdue is to bring under control, so even before the Fall God wanted man to bring the world under his control. God embedded work in man’s nature and his “DNA”of creation
John Murry a Scottish theologian says ‘subduing’ of the earth must imply the expenditure of thought and skill and energy in bringing the earth and its resources under control and be channeled to the promotion of certain ends which they were suited and designed to fulfil but which wouldn’t be fulfilled apart from the exercise of man’s design and labor.
Man was to use work creatively to subdue the earth as a sovereign being and as co-creators with God.
Work was given to mankind as a part of the blessedness of the garden and it was originally a significant part of God’s good plan for humankind. Work was part of life in the garden before the Fall. Work was not a hindrance imposed on man but an opportunity for humankind to exert control over nature. Work also distinguished humankind from animals and likens man with the divine God. When man works, he serves God.
Work may not be as certain as death and taxes but it has been around longer.
with all the above being true, why then is there such a great disconnect between Sunday and Monday workplace Christians?
to be continued…..