Isn’t it often the case that going to church on Sunday and hearing about Biblical truth and the virtues of the Christian life and ethics, often looks so far removed from what’s happening at work. When you arrive on Monday, you have no control over the attitudes of others and the challenges, or perhaps even a boss who treats your workplace badly.
Today’s 20Twenty discussion is about the richness of being a Christian in the workplace and in the wider marketplace. New social and technological changes are impacting so many workplaces today. There are new experiences at work that bring new challenges, perhaps never before even been considered.
We’re going to talk about some of those things with our special guest, who’s been reflecting on how the work that people do can glorify God. This includes unpaid and menial work that some don’t even consider to be important. So whether you are the boss, in middle management or whether you’re just starting out on the bottom rung of the ladder, this conversation will be an important one for you.
Dr. Andrew Sloan is a qualified medical doctor who lectures in Old Testament and Christian thoughts at Morling Theological College in Sydney. He specialises in teaching about the integration of Christian faith and work.
Andrew believes that one of the things we haven’t done very well in the church is making the connection between faith and work, which he says is there throughout scripture. “If we think of the initial picture of God that we find in the early chapters of Genesis, we see God as a worker who makes and does, who plants, who tends. If you think about how God is portrayed through the Old and New Testament, God is described for us through the everyday experiences of people at work.”
Andrew continues, “The gospels focus on the three years of His public ministry, but also on the years before that when He was schooled by His father and often described as a carpenter. He was very familiar with the ordinary circumstances of people’s work and you find that reflected in the parables. They reflect the ordinary experiences of people in Palestine at the time. Much of what He’s doing engages with people and their experiences of work, and He uses those experiences to help them understand who He is and to understand His preaching of the kingdom of God”
Andrew says that Jesus was saying that we should think about how these Biblical truths relate to our work, and about how people’s work experiences might help them understand scripture better. “One of the things I get people to do as they read their Bibles, is just ask two simple questions, questions we’re not often taught to ask. How does your understanding of work help you see something more clearly in there? And then having done that, how does this text help you understand your work better? I think people then just naturally start to see the connections between their work and their faith.”
“One of the things that God values about work is that it enables us to provide for ourselves and the people who depend on us. We often as Christians fail to remember that we are creatures and that God cares for us as creatures. And one of the ways that God provides for us is through the work that we do that enables us to engage in the particular economies that we find ourselves in.”
Andrew says that our work should be something that reflects God and God’s values. “I like to think about plumbers and garbage collectors. We don’t think of them as particularly significant or valuable tasks. But what they actually do is enable the communities that we find ourselves in to to exist.”
“If we think of part of our job as God’s creatures and as Christians is to contribute to the societies in which we find ourselves, we will do so in a way in which God’s provision for these communities is reflected. God is in the business of bringing order into the world. If part of our role is to either establish that order or maintain that order, then we’re reflecting God. We are contributing to God’s good purposes for our communities.”
To listen to the rest of Neil’s fascinating conversation with Andrew about faith in the workplace, click below….