Work

From the Archives – Five Reasons to Preach a Series on Work

In my five decades of attending Bible-preaching churches I’ve heard precisely one sermon series on work. It was my own, and was pretty weak.

It’s possible that the topic has been receiving systematic attention all over the place all these years, and I’ve just managed to miss nearly all of it. But I think not.

For whatever reason, work is a neglected subject, not only in topical preaching and teaching, but, in my experience, also in the applicational portions of expositional sermons. Often, when the workplace is referenced at all, the focus is solely on “being a witness” or “having a good testimony,” as though work couldn’t possibly have any other important purposes in a believer’s life.

So the topic seems not only to be underrepresented in pulpit work, but also to be poorly understood.

For several reasons, our ministries should include systematic teaching on work. Some of these reasons also point to the bigger picture of why work is important in the lives of Christians.

1. It’s OK to do topical work sometimes.

For the benefit of those who highly value paragraph-by-paragraph expositional preaching (as they should) and are hesitant to include any topical work in the mix, a few observations:

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How to Fix Work Disincentives and Marriage Penalties in America’s Social Safety Net

"these flaws in welfare policies apply with special force to those who are just at the point of making the transition from poverty to self-sufficiency. These problems have long been known. So why have they not been corrected long ago? And what can be done to fix them now?" - IFS

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The danger of finding our meaning at work: In extreme cases, work isn’t just rewarding: It’s religion.

WeWork’s "reputation had already been shaken by Neumann’s declarations in its filings about 'the energy of we'...and for the company’s vow to 'elevate the world’s consciousness.' ...executives got instruction from leaders of the Kabbalah Centre, whose values are loosely based on Jewish mysticism." - RNS 

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Majority of workers who quit a job in 2021 cite low pay, no opportunities for advancement, feeling disrespected

"Majorities of workers who quit a job in 2021 say low pay (63%), no opportunities for advancement (63%) and feeling disrespected at work (57%) were reasons why they quit, according to the Feb. 7-13 survey." - Pew

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Barna Research releases study on how Americans view their work life and how churches might help

"Recent data collected this summer indicate that at least half of U.S. adults (21% definitely interested, 32% probably interested) would be interested if their local church addressed vocational well-being in their preaching and programs." - Barna

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Happy Labor Day

“In all labor there is profit… ” (Prov 14:23)

“Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.” (Prov 31:31)

“…let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” (Eph 4:28)

“And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle…” (1 Thess 5:14)

“For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” (2 Thess 3:10)

“…aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” (1 Th 4:11–12)

“The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” (Gen 2:15)

Photo by Siora Photography.

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