What did you want to be when you were growing up? Or what do you want to be? A footballer? A mum? A train driver? A nurse? A shop worker? A YouTuber? What did, or do, you imagine that will be like?
I have to say I wasn’t very exotic, growing up on a farmer means my aspirations went no further than going into the family business. I could imagine nothing better than driving a tractor and tilling and harvesting the fields. Then inspired by a teacher I wanted to do that. What about you?
But how does that dream square with where you are now? Maybe you’re doing the job you dreamed of. If so how does it compare to your dreams and hopes? Maybe you had no idea you’d be doing what you are doing now. How do you feel about it? What are the joys and struggles of where you find yourself?
The Bible has lots to say about work. It’s part of the joy of life in the garden before the fall. And after the fall is as scared and mark by sin as everything else, and yet it’s still something we were made for, value, and can find joy in. And when you read Revelation 22 there is work in the new creation as we serve God, but it’s work without frustration, work in its purest, holiest, most joy filled form. Work is good. Work is a means to serve God. But work is also broken, twisted by sin.
It’s broken in a number of ways. We’re tempted to love it too much, turning work into an idol that we look to for our sense of identity and value which we should only get from God. Yet it’s also broken in the way we’re tempted to despise work, and do as little as we can get away with. Work is broken in the way we’re tempted to value some work and not others. To look down on some jobs but elevate others and make judgements about people based on the work they do. Sin even warps the way we think about work as Christians and the false unhelpful hierarchies of work that we have where we think you can serve God better as a missionary than a mum, as a pastor than a plumber. Where we divide work into sacred and secular.
Following Jesus transforms everything and that applies to work. Disciples should follow Jesus not the culture in the way we think about and approach work. We saw from Romans 12 a few weeks ago that our worship is 24/7, 168 hours a week, and that includes our work. And as Paul writes to the Ephesians he has shown them God’s big picture, that one day everything will be united in Christ and now the church is God’s display of the power of the gospel when believers gather together and when they scatter.
Disciples live life knowing they are loved by Jesus. Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians(3v14-21) is that they grow in maturity as they grow in their understanding of Christ’s love for them, and live loving him as a result of that growing awareness. And that awareness of Christ’s love and love for him in return will change the way they live as church(4v1-16), in their holiness(4v17-5v20), in their marriages(5v25-33), as families(6v1-4). And in work(6v5-9).
So how do we worship Jesus at work, be it in the home, the office, writing essays, or serving customers? What does that look like? Is that even possible given when we live and the pressures we face? That’s want i want to explore over the next couple of blog posts.