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December 7, 2019
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Are Some Jobs More Important Than Others?

Word In Life Bible Study • Theology of Work
Does society have a hiearchy in the work they do? You better believe it. But what does God's word say?

1 Cor.12:28-31

In our culture, that hierarchy tends to position clergy (missionaries and evangelists, pastors and priests) at the top, members of the "helping professions" (doctors and nurses, teachers and educators, social workers) next, and "secular" workers (business executives, salespeople, factory laborers, and farmers) at the bottom.

So what determines the spiritual value of a job? How does God assign significance? The hierarchy assumes sacred and secular distinctions, and assigns priority to the sacred. But does God view vocations that way? No .

All legitimate work matters to God. God Himself is a worker. In fact, human occupations find their origin in His work to create the world (Ps. 8:6-8). Work is a gift from Him to meet the needs of people and the creation.

God creates people to carry out specific kinds of work. God uniquely designs each of us, fitting us for certain kinds of tasks. He distributes skills, abilities, interests, and personalities among us so that we can carry out His work in the world. That work includes "spiritual" tasks, but also extends to health, education, agriculture, business, law, communication, the arts, and so on.

God cares more about character and conduct than occupational status. Paul's teaching in this passage is about gifts, not vocations. At the time Paul wrote it, there were few if any "professional" clergy in the church. Paul himself was a tentmaker by occupation, along with his friends, Aquila and Priscilla (1 Cor. 16:19; see Rom. 16:3-5). Other church leaders practiced a wide variety of professions and trades. God may assign rank among the spiritual gifts, but there's no indication that He looks at vocations that way.

Furthermore, Scripture says there is something more important than gifts, "a more excellent way" (1 Cor. 12:31). Chapter 13 reveals it to be the way of Christlike love and character. Implication: If you want status in God's economy, excel at love, no matter what you do for work. Love has the greatest value to God (13:13; Matt. 22:35-40).

Study notes from the Word In Life Study Bible, copyright 1993,1996, by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission. The study notes from the Word In Life Study Bible appearing at this web site are for personal use only.
 
 
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