Work is Beautiful
For What Purpose?
Many Christians see work as a distraction, a curse to be endured between spiritual activities. As a result, their calling and contribution, their work and witness, suffer. Can Christians fully live as salt and light if they perceive their work to be nothing more than a secular means to a sacred end?
We’ve seen that our work can be worship, love, and community. But if those are the individual melodies, what is the symphony?
Genesis 2:15 tells us we were created to work, so we know that our individual contribution can be part of God’s beautiful plan. Those made in his image were given the awesome privilege of working alongside the creator to see his creation flourish. Even after the fall, work was encouraged to shape our character, provide for our families, and serve others.
The death and resurrection of Christ gave work an even greater significance, inviting us to play an integral part in the redemption of the world.
“Jesus is risen,” wrote author and scholar N.T. Wright, “therefore his followers have a new job to do … to bring the life of heaven in actual, physical, earthly reality.” When we work as unto the Lord, we touch lives, contribute to flourishing, and participate in what Pastor Tom Nelson describes as our savior’s “redemptive rebuilding project.” In ways seen and unseen, we can have a beautiful and redemptive influence on our work, workplace, and community.
What This Means
The Church must reclaim this understanding of work and economics, and equip Christians to live it through their vocations. This requires intentional discipleship. “Because discipleship is a matter of learning to live, discipleship is a matter of our whole life,” said Dallas Willard. “Its primary place is where we live: our home and our work.” Willard continues: “The church is for discipleship and discipleship is for the world.”
This is where the beauty of work is found. Our discipleship is not reserved for Sundays and service projects; it is faithfully lived in everyday world-redeeming, value-creating actions in jobs, homes, and communities. We are to made to flourish, which means achieving our fullest potential to glorify God by loving him, loving others, and through the power of the gospel and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, bringing light to a lost and hurting culture.