“Work is more than a place to make money to give to the church or a place to evangelize.”

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Larry Nelson's picture

From the article: "4. The ministerial calling is not higher than other professions such as business, medicine, law, or carpentry."

When I graduated from a Christian school in 1981, few (if any) of the teachers there appeared to believe the above.  If the above is seen as being true now (and I doubt it is seen as true even today in many IFB circles), it certainly didn't appear to be true back then. 

Bert Perry's picture

One thing I'm learning, bit by bit, is about all the opportunities I get to do good at work simply by recognizing what's going on.  It's powerful.

And +1 to Larry.  I remember a guy I was discipling telling me that the only guys at his church who could get a date were the guys who said they were going to Bible college to be a pastor or missionary.  Hey, ya gotta have somebody to support those missionaries, no?

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Even if you grant that God intends us to work in this world, does secular work (in and of itself) have any eternal significance?

It seems like work that (for example) dovetails with Godly concepts of justice (justice system, etc.) and family (social workers, etc.) might qualify. Other stuff (e.g. corporate counsel for Johnson & Johnson) might not.

Bear in mind, I've been working in the "real world" my whole life, so I'm not asking from a pastoral bubble.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Larry Nelson's picture

TylerR wrote:

Even if you grant that God intends us to work in this world, does secular work (in and of itself) have any eternal significance?

It seems like work that (for example) dovetails with Godly concepts of justice (justice system, etc.) and family (social workers, etc.) might qualify. Other stuff (e.g. corporate counsel for Johnson & Johnson) might not.

Bear in mind, I've been working in the "real world" my whole life, so I'm not asking from a pastoral bubble.

Pondering your question, I googled this phrase: does secular work have eternal significance.

Many articles written about that very question came up.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Do you think it does? I think it depends on the job.

One related issue is when your self-identity is informed more by your secular job than your status as a member of God's family. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

My take is that as long as the work itself isn't sinful--prostitute, drug dealer, whatever--then that work does have eternal significance, first of all in one's service to one's fellow man.  That can be food for people, putting bowties on Chevys (or ovals on Fords), or taking a look at statistics and designing data storage, or whatever. It's a witness to the customer to do it well, and quite frankly a witness to coworkers.

Also, I can see places where that experience at work can be very helpful in church, and for that matter, doesn't Paul use the examples of the soldier or farmer to illustrate the Christian life?  Plus, in many cases, one can use those professions in the church.  The guy who drives for a living takes the kids to camp.  The lawyer or accountant might look over policies or church finances, etc..  The guy who does insurance investigations can help with church-state issues by saying "at a certain point, we have to follow the law".  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Larry Nelson's picture

TylerR wrote:

Do you think it does?

....is "yes" (with the clear exception of vocations which are illegal/immoral).

Today though I just don't have time to go into a lengthy explanation of why (biblically) I believe that to be true.