This week in RML Romans, William Taylor addressed the question of what God says about our work. Should Christians engage in normal work? And if so, what should be our attitude towards it? Here is a brief reminder of some of the key points, and some questions to help us think through the implications for the way we approach our work.
Firstly work is good. From the very beginning, man was created in the image of God, and just as God worked in creation, so man is to work in exercising dominion over the creation (Genesis 1:26-31). So we can't be so "spiritual" as to consider our work "unspiritual", because the Bible doesn't make that distinction. And all of our work, however mundane it may seem, is good and significant, because God has commanded us to work.
How might we be prone to divide our life into the "spiritual" bits that God cares about and the "unspiritual" bits which have nothing to do with God? How does God's word correct our view?
Secondly work is grim, because sin came into the world through the fall of man, and our work was cursed as a part of this (Genesis 3:17-19). Therefore we have to realise that true fulfilment will never come from what we do and we need to be realistic about what we expect from our working lives.
Are we ever tempted to buy into the belief of so many around us that our life will be fulfilled by a good career and a satisfying job?
Finally, work should be governed by the gospel. William showed us that whilst the creation of humanity is the pinnacle of creation, it's not the goal of creation - enjoying God's paradise rest is the goal. Therefore the essence of being human is not work, but relationship with God, dwelling in his presence. Since God's goal for this world and our lives is his new creation, we should examine whether our working lives are in line with God's goal.
Within work, am I an advertisement for Jesus' new creation? Beyond work, if God's purpose is to populate his new creation, what am I going to do about it?