Connecting Real Faith to Real Work

Among Evangelicals there is a revival of the notion that all good work is “sacred” work. The idea that most vocations are secular while only a few (like pastors and missionaries) are sacred is an idea that is being successfully challenged.

So far the most enjoyable challenge to the myth of the sacred/secular divide that I have read is Michael Wittmer’s book Becoming Worldly Saints. (A few of my thoughts on this great book)

There are others who are also writing, thinking, and experimenting with the notion that God has called every person to some section of the “garden” in order to cultivate for his glory. Whether it is selling clothing or manning a drive-thru window or running a Fortune 500 company or pastoring a church, all of it is designed by God to promote love and well-being among mankind.

One recent article in particular caught my eye called How to Connect Sermon Application to People’s Jobs by Dan Doriani. Obviously, the article was written with pastors and preaching in mind, but my interest in the article went beyond that. Doriani makes the case that concrete, real life stories are critical to communicating the truth that all good work is kingdom work and that faith and labor necessarily coincide.

He spoke of his daughter’s job at a clothing manufacturer where she struggled to see the significance of selling a sweater she didn’t even like. He told the story of a young financial planner who had a moral dilemma on his hands. His clients wanted to donate a considerable portion of their income to Planned Parenthood. As a pro-life Christian, could he be a part of helping them accumulate wealth if this was where their money would end up? And Doriani tells of how fast food workers are often God’s answer to prayer. He writes:

“Pastorally, I find that offering concrete illustrations about faith at work is one of the best ways to help people. It’s essential for pastors to address the array of jobs people have, not just the go-to occupations like nurses and teachers.”

Doriani’s article is certainly a beneficial read for pastors. Indeed, in our preaching we need to learn the art of concrete illustrations regardless of which topic we are addressing in our sermons. But I also recommend his article to every Christian who works for a living. Your work (insofar as it promotes goodness among your fellow man) is meaningful kingdom work.

For more resources on this issue visit The Center for Faith and Work.

How Christ Defeats
Darkness, Demons, and Death
By Jason Dollar
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