We Christians are a strange lot. Frequently, we say we believe one thing but live out our lives quite differently. While hypocrisy is one thing, "spiritual blind-spots" are another. Problematic as hypocrisy is, it is not my concern in this article; rather, I am concerned with our "blind spots." A blind spot is an area of speech, action, or thinking that we have and practice which we simply don't see or acknowledge.
Why do we work? Is there a theological basis for work? Doug Woolley, with extensive research throughout the scriptures, cites the reasons why we work, and the scriptural basis for work. Great for pastors, workplace leaders, and anyone else desiring to know the "Theology of Work and Its Practical Implications."
Yet even though work is an important, God-given part of life, by itself it falls far short of describing the entire significance and identity of an individual. There are many other aspects to being a person-personal growth and development, family, citizenship, friendships, and faith, to name a few. So to define oneself almost entirely by one's occupation is inadequate. It tends to place more value on the self than on God; more on activity than on character; and more on success than on relationships. In short, it tends to equate employment with human worth.1 Sam.3:20
This is a book on the church in the workplace. I hope it will help you understand that the true church of Jesus Christ does not only take the form that usually comes to mind when we hear the word "church," namely, congregations of believers that meet together for worship on Sundays (as well as for other congregational activities), but this same true church also takes the form of the dispersion of believers out in the workplace the other six days of the week.
In my late twenties, I began a business pilgrimage to make a connection between faith and work. Thirty-five years later I'm still learning just how challenging this is. The tendency to bifurcate my worlds has been unrelenting - to be one person away from work, especially on Sunday, and another at work. It's a bit like sitting next to the congenial guy at the coffee shop who turns into a maniac moments later on the freeway. Context can mean everything!
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it (Gen. 2:15).
Imagine for a moment that Jesus has just completed his three years of training with the disciples. He has been crucified and is now commissioning the twelve to go into the world and disciple the nations. Now imagine him also making this statement to them.
"Dear brothers, it is now time for you to share what you have learned from me. However, as you share with others be sure that you keep what I taught you separate from your work life. The principles I have shared with you only apply in situations outside your work life. Do not make them fit into this context. The miracles you saw in me can only be done in certain situations outside work life.. Keep this in mind when thinking about praying for the sick or the lost. These truths will not work in the marketplace. From Faith & Work: Do They Mix? (Aslan, 2000)
MICHAEL MCLOUGHLIN, MBA,YWAM MARKETPLACE MISSION • Theology of Work
What is marketplace mission really all about? Is about converting others? Is it about caring for God's creation? Is it about doing work well? Is it about justice for the oppressed? Is it about the Christian faith being introduced into the marketplace through these various approaches? What is marketplace mission and why is it important to grasp a new paradigm that incorporates these approaches but goes farther?