Blog - Grasping Vocation

Top Ten Reasons Churches Should Teach what the Bible Says About Work

Monday, August 26, 2013

Although they spend the largest block of their waking hours working, far too many Christians. . .

(10) . . . have never heard a sermon on their everyday work.

"Work: The Forgotten Sermon,” is the title of a website article by Dr. Joel McDurmon, Director of Research for American Vision. In the article, he asks: "Why have I never heard a sermon on this topic?”

 (9) . . . think work is God’s punishment for the sin of Adam and Eve.

A man now serving as a pastor wrote: "I was raised in a church setting where the prevailing philosophy with regards to work outside of the church was considered a ‘Necessary evil.’ We were told that we have to work (a sinful thing) because we need to have money to conduct our lives and businesses.”

 (8) . . . do not seek out other believers on the job and develop support networks with them.

In a 2012 survey of 60 believers, 95 percent knew of other Christians on the job, but only 48 percent said they "deliberately seek for opportunities to encourage them in their faith and walk.”

 (7) . . . are unaware of resources to help them make difficult ethical decisions in the workplace.

In a survey of 300 Christians, 74 percent said they faced ethical decisions and dilemmas in their work every day. (Source: Integrity at Work; Norman L. Geissler and Randy Douglass, p. 17).

 (6) . . . believe their work matters spiritually for only two reasons: opportunities to verbally share the gospel and to earn money for supporting church-related ministries.

 (5) . . . over-prioritize their work, becoming workaholics and overachievers, and neglecting Sabbath rest.

As one blogger put it: "I recognize that I have pursued my work sometimes at the expense of everything else. . . . and in those times I made an idol of my work.”

(4). . . fail to understand work as one of God's main disciplines for maturing them spiritually.

"I am prepared to contend that the primary location for spiritual formation is the workplace." (Source: Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, Eugene H. Peterson, p. 127).

(3) . . . struggle to see any connection between what they hear on Sunday and the work they do the rest of the week.

"The average Christian professional sitting in the pew hears little from the pulpit or in Sunday school about how her life with God relates to her life at work.” (Source: Kingdom Calling, Amy L. Sherman, p. 100).

 (2) . . . think they missed God’s best by engaging in "secular” work instead of "full-time Christian service.”

For the most part, this idea is caught rather than taught. Sometimes, though, it is promoted explicitly by statements like this one: "The greatest honor that can come to any person is to be set aside by the Holy Spirit to serve Jesus Christ with all of his life. These people are identified as those who are in the professional ministry. Today they are pastors, assistant pastors, evangelists, missionaries, Bible teachers in colleges, and others who serve in full-time ministry.”

 (1) . . . often work for a lifetime without ever detecting God’s purposes or involvement in placing them in their work.

"My father was a coal miner in Australia. He worked in that industry for nearly forty years. . . . There is no doubt that he brought to bear upon his life in the mines the Christian faith that he professed. He did not hesitate to testify of Christ, and in all kinds of ways his commitment to the gospel made him an influence for good in day-by-day situations. . . . But my father always had within him a secret disappointment: He wanted to be a minister. . . . He ministered without ever being able to say with clarity, ‘I am a minister of Christ.’ My point is this: I believe that both my father and the church as a whole have been impoverished because of this state of affairs.” (Source: The Laity in Ministry, George Peck and John S. Hoffman, Editors, pp. 13-15).

Comments (3)

Shamaka (8/26/2013 3:43:45 PM)
These points are so timely especially in today's challenges, where the church is failing to engage the Gen Y'ers and Millenials because the information and ideas shared in the majority of churches are not relevant to their every day experiences...thank you for illuminating these truths.
Larry Peabody (8/27/2013 11:14:15 AM)
Yes, Dennis, I have read both of your books and have passed them on to several others. A friend here in our community is using them in the process of shaping a biblical management approach for his company.
dennis bakke (8/27/2013 7:12:42 AM)
I agree completely with your points. You may want to read my books "Joy at Work" and "The Decision Maker".

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