Wakening Up to Work: Reclaiming a biblical view of work

“My Father is always working.” @ John 5:17

When I first became a believer, I connected with a local church in a deprived housing estate. It was a new church, largely comprised of young adults recently set free from addiction. Although the church was marked by passionate spirituality, it viewed those in employment rather suspiciously. Work seemed like a distraction from destiny, rather than a doorway into it.

Yet, work originated in the heart of God. It was His idea. It was His initiative. The word “work”, in its different forms, is mentioned more than 800 times in the Bible, more than all the words used to express worship and praise combined.

Indeed, Scripture opens with God at work: as artist, designer, strategic planner, organizer, project developer, assessor, zoologist, biologist, chemist, linguist, programmer, materials specialist, engineer… And then He created a co-creator, someone who would partner Him in His work.

The workplace became the context for the story of God.

Many of the Old Testament patriarchs and prophets worked as farmers, shepherds, and business owners; living out the story of God while continuing ordinary jobs. This pattern continued with the ministry of Jesus, who worked as a carpenter. Unsurprisingly, forty-five of the fifty-two parables Jesus told had a workplace context. By His words and deeds, Jesus affirmed God’s value for work.

God is not indifferent to our work. God is interested in every worker in every workplace. He offers us a kingdom large enough for all things, all vocations, all generations; every industry immersed in the story of God - every worker alive to the glory of God.

As believers, we don’t take our faith to work; our faith takes us to work.