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I had a discussion tonight with a banker, lawyer, retail manager, and hair stylist about the meaning of work

JR Vassar is the Pastor of Apostles Church, in the heart of New York City. He's speaking at the RightNow Conference in Dallas, Nov 11-12th. Its refreshing to hear a pastor located in the country's business capital tackle the Biblical basis for business and ministry. Here's an excerpt, or click here to read the full thing.

"Tonight, I had dinner with some men at Apostles (a banker, a lawyer, a retail manager, and a hair stylist) really struggling through questions about God's perspective on their careers. It was a great conversation and it reminded me of some things we talked about recently at Apostles while I was preaching through Ephesians. God is redeeming all of created life – even our work lives. The opening chapters of Genesis reveal that work is good, an expression of the image of God in us, but deeply affected by the fall so many things go wrong in it and it becomes a source of suffering and conflict. Some things to think about.

Your identity is not to be in any position, but in a Person. In Ephesians 6, Paul tells slaves they belong to Jesus. They are his, bought with a price, his prized possession called now to ultimately serve his purpose. We are not to primarily see ourselves in light of what we do before people, but in light of how we are loved by God.

Work is Worship. Your work is to be done to the Lord. This means that while we are doing work we will be thinking of the Lord and doing our work mindful of him. Christianity creates no division of secular and sacred and every vocational domain has value. Every task we undertake, paid or not paid, is to be done to the Lord – your job, or if you are building something, cooking a meal, changing a diaper, sweeping the floor –  is all done to the Lord, for his pleasure and in his presence, giving thanks for his provision. Your work is sacred. Dorothy Sayers said it like this, “Let the Church remember this: that every maker and worker is called to serve God in his profession or trade—not outside it. The Apostles complained rightly when they said it was not meet they should leave the word of God and serve tables; their vocation was to preach the word. But the person whose vocation it is to prepare the meals beautifully might with equal justice protest: It is not meet for us to leave the service of our tables to preach the word.”

Since work is worship, your work needs to be Good Work. Again, Sayers is helpful, “We should ask of an enterprise, not ‘will it pay?’ but ‘is it good?’” Good work has an upward, outward and inward dimension to it. Upward in that it is done for God’s honor. He would want this done and delights in the quality of my work and the attitude in which I performed the work. Some work is unethical and unjust. It can’t be done as worship and should be abandoned. Outward in that it benefits others. It does not oppress or deceive or deprive others. It is not unjust nor involve cruel practices. It brings about the good of others. And the rewards of your labor can be used to benefit others. Inward in that it gives you  joy. Do you enjoy it? See the value of it? There are many who feel that what they are doing has appallingly little value. To truly enjoy your work means you see the importance in it (even if only to earn money to provide for your family and leverage for the good of others. Future shaping generosity can give new joy to your labor). Being a mercenary who only works for the money is not a very fulfilling way to live... Click here to read the full article on JR's site

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posted by Justin Forman | 2.02.2010 - 7:55 AM


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