Work is Community

It is Not Good for Man to Be Alonebigstock-Gardening-26243528-1200

Since we are made in the image of God, we are also made for relationship and community. This is even expressed through the world of work. All our labor is done with others and for others, through the vast web of relationships known as “the economy.” Most of our waking hours are embedded in this system of exchange as we buy and sell, hire and work, build and invest. Through our work, we serve our neighbors, build a community, and contribute to greater flourishing.

The Church’s Role

stockvault-human-shadow-walking-1200The church once addressed economic realities, recognizing that Jesus’ redemptive work encompasses all of our relationships and communities. The Bible is replete with work references and economic insights for God’s people. And it’s not just Christians who benefit. Proverbs 11:10 tells us that, “When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices.”

Scripture also teaches us that:

  • We have a stewardship responsibility to flourish in our own lives, to help our neighbors flourish as fellow stewards, and to pass on a flourishing economy to future generations (Matthew 25; Jeremiah 29:7; I Peter 2:12; Psalm 102:18).
  • Economies flourish when people have integrity and trust each other (Proverbs 1:19, 11:10; Jeremiah 29:7).
  • In general, people flourish when they take responsibility for their own economic success by doing work that serves others and makes the world better ( II Thessalonians 3:10; I Timothy 5:8; Leviticus 19:11, 23:22; I Corinthians 9:9-11).
  • Real economic success is about how much value you create, not how much money you make (Proverbs 31:18; II Thessalonians 3:10; Proverbs 23:4; Luke 12:15-21; I Timothy 5:8).

Over the last century, however, the American church has found it difficult to engage public questions of work and economics without embracing partisan agendas. As a result, Christians today are wary of seeking public influence — despite all they have to contribute to the public good.

What This Means

The church must help people realize that their work is not a solitary endeavor. Shepherds need to prepare full-time, whole-life disciples to work for the good of others and carry out their priestly ministry wherever God has placed them. When Christians manifest their faith in the world of work and exchange, they will transform the culture and advance the kingdom.