Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good (Washington Times)
From: The Washington Times
Churches often teach people about “financial stewardship” — seeing the resources they possess as belonging to God and thus accountable to him for their disposal. Churches need to do better at teaching their members about “vocational stewardship” — seeing their jobs also as God’s provision, and deploying their talents through their work in ways that express love of neighbor.
By “vocational stewardship,” I mean the intentional and strategic use of one’s vocational power (skills, knowledge, network, position, platform) to advance human flourishing.
Too often in Christian circles “faith/work integration” is adverbial. We focus on the kind of employees we ought to be: ethical, caring, hard-working, conscientious. This is a vital part of such integration, but it’s not the whole. For the work itself matters. What we do — not just how we do it — matters.
Vocational stewardship starts by asking: What are the hallmarks of human flourishing from a biblical perspective? Scripture teaches that these include justice, beauty, peace, wholeness, economic flourishing, joy, community, dignity and intimacy with God. Then we ask: How can I deploy my vocational power to advance these values in my workplace, community and nation?
Consider businesswoman Wendy Clark. At age 20 she started Carpe Diem Cleaners in Durham, North Carolina. Initially, her sense of what it meant to be a Christian businessperson was that her company could generate profits — and then she could give generously to her church for its compassion ministries.