Does Our Work Actually Matter?

Work, work, work, work….sometimes it seems that is all our life is about. We will in fact spend more time at work than with our spouse, family, or friends, and even more time than we spend sleeping. The average American works 50 hours a week, many times on weekends and through vacations. A job can drain our soul and kill us if not held in the right perspective.

In “Why Work Matters,” a lecture at the Center for Faith & Work in New York City, Tim Keller explains that every field in the workplace has significance for God. His focus is to help Christians’ understanding of the importance of their vocation. He answers the following 2 questions:

  • Why your work matters to God
  • Why God matters to your work

Here’s a short summary that you should read:

At creation, God could have simply created this world in a way in which people received their needs without the necessity of work. But God intentionally organized this world in a way that involves people. His heart, like the father who takes his son to work, was to involve people in His work. Work is a means by which God provides for people.

Usually the phrase “God’s work” is only attached to those activities which happen inside the church, done by pastors, called “ministry.” But this mindset is flawed. There are not different levels of Christianity. All Christians are equal. God also does not place different levels of significance on different kinds of work. All work matters to God. There is no difference between pastors, businessmen and women, politicians, artists, or musicians. As a result, all work becomes God’s work of ministry, especially including the work done by Christians outside of the church. As Martin Luther explained “Our work is the mask of God behind which He wants to remain concealed.” This means that when Christians work, they are in the place of God, acting as “God in disguise.” An individual’s work matters because when a Christian is a good employee God’s grace is given to the workplace and the city.
The fact that all work matters to God is true for every field, every workplace, and every job. But each field of work is different with different challenges for each individual. So there is not one single way for this truth to apply to each job. Instead, each individual must rely on the Holy Spirit to apply this in his or her specific field at his or her specific job. What will be consistent is the impact on a Christian’s work. This will affect the motivation behind the work for all of us. This will affect the way Christians interact with coworkers. This will affect the way Christians manage people. This will affect the way Christians serve and create on the job.

Belly of the Loin: a creative description of the “9 to 5 job” by John Mark McMillan

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