An Ikthus East Sermon
The Porch, Lopue’s East
(1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, NIV)
“Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
As most of you know, we’re studying the book of 1 Thessalonians. We’re now in the 4th chapter, which teaches us about pleasing God. We’ve learned that we can please God by (1) being holy, (2) by loving our brothers and sisters in Christ, and (3) by working hard. We’re now in number 3: we please God by working hard.
Work is such an important part of our life. A large chunk of our life-time – maybe 30% – is devoted to work. So it won’t come as a surprise if the Bible has a lot to say about work because God is interested in all aspects our life, and if so, he surely must be interested in what constitutes such a large part of it.
There are three things I’d like to share with you regarding the subject of Work based on our text: First, Why Work? Second, How to Work. And, finally, The Results of Work. Or we can put it this way: The Reasons for Work, the Recipe for Work, and the Results of Work. Since we don’t have time to cover all of these points, I plan this morning to focus only on the first point: Why Work? And in relation to that question, here are some answers. Why Work? Because (1) We were created to work. (2) We were saved to work. (3) God himself worked. (4) Working is the best way to wait for the Lord’s return. Continue reading “Why Work?”
To the extent that your work takes into account the needs of the world, it will be meaningful; to the extent that through it you express your unique talents, it will be joyful.
– Laurence G. Boldt, How to Find the Work You Love
I just joined as a freelancer on Elance.com and while trying it out (I haven’t had a client yet) I realised this whole setup contradicts Wendell Berry’s vision of keeping things local as much as possible. Even so, I joined because it occurred to me that not to do so was to tread the path towards obsolescence. Continue reading “Wendell Berry and Elance”
Our work does not need to have or contribute to some grand plan; its blessings are of a more mundane sort. Work gives us the means to survive, to be of service to others, and perhaps most of all, work gives us a way to stay busy… Attributing greater significance to work risks making it demonic, as work then becomes an idolatrous activity through which we try to secure and guarantee our significance, to ‘make our mark on history.’
– Stanley Hauerwas, In Good Company
Whether well paid or not, the chief satisfactions are those that involve reaching out to others, trying to make things better… Those who develop a passion for their work gain pleasure from it, and are rewarded with satisfactions that can’t be taken away.
– Derrick Bell, Ethical Ambition, p. 25
Found this quote from Dorothy Sayers at Justin Taylor’s blog:
The Church’s approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to exhorting him not to be drunk and disorderly in his leisure hours, and to come to church on Sundays. What the Church should be telling him is this: that the very first demand that his religion makes upon him is that he should make good tables.
. . . Let the Church remember this: that every maker and worker is called to serve God in his profession or trade—not outside of it. The Apostles complained rightly when they said it was not meant 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 meant for us to leave the service of our tables to preach the word.
The official Church wastes time and energy, and moreover, commits sacrilege, in demanding that secular workers should neglect their proper vocation in order to do Christian work—by which she means ecclesiastical work. The only Christian work is good work well done. Let the Church see to it that the workers are Christian people and do their work well, as to God: then all the work will be Christian work, whether it is Church embroidery or sewage-farming.