Theology of Work
Connecting Sunday to Monday...
Regardless of whether you are a business owner, a Company CEO, an elected official, a nonprofit Executive Director, a principal, a teacher, a plumber, a doctor, a stay at home mom, an employee, or a minister, your work (vocation) is important to God.
God makes no distinction between the sacred and secular worlds. At one point in Jesus' ministry, He healed a lame man by a pool. Because He healed the man on the Sabbath, some Jews complained that He was violating the law. "Jesus said to them, 'My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too am working'" (John 5:17, NIV). It is in God's very nature, and in our own, to work. In this instance, Jesus did good even on the Sabbath. In Romans 1:1-7, Paul clearly tells followers of Jesus Christ that we are called into a personal relationship with Christ and that our work is also a calling.
In the old testament of the Bible, God provides a cultural mandate, a role that gives man the responsibility for ruling and subduing the earth. In Genesis 1:26-28 (HCSB), Moses says:
"Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the animals, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.' So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.
God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.'"
This cultural mandate includes our roles at work, in our families, within business, education, government, religious institutions, nonprofits, and the community. Our work itself is a high and holy calling to God.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we also have the responsibility to make disciples whether it be at work, in our neighborhoods, the community, or around the world. We are commanded to build the Kingdom by carrying out the Great Commission:
"Then Jesus came near and said to them, 'All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'" (Matthew 28:18-20, HCSB)
Both the cultural mandate and the Great Commission are high and holy callings. As disciples of Jesus Christ our work is an opportunity to serve others in the name of Jesus Christ. We can do so by fulfilling both the cultural mandate and the Great Commission. Work is not only a platform to do ministry but also a ministry itself. Christ was a carpenter and Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John were fishermen. Paul made tents. Matthew was a tax collector.