Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Theology of Employment

This is a rather strange title for a blog, but I am about to go into my second job in one hour, where I will be working overnight, stocking at target department stores, about four minutes from my apartment. I also work during the day at Chick Fil A. In this article I want to show that working is a theological issue. We don't just work to pay bills (which that is one reason I got a second job), but we work because work is theological. I want to present a brief theology of work.

1. Work is a covenant stipulation. Notice in Genesis 1:28. This is what is called the Adamic Covenant. Mankind is created in the image of God, and then in verse 28 we find the covenant blessing and the covenant blessing, which is almost identical to the Noahic Covenant. First is the command to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Here we discover that sexuality is a theological issue, something the culture has greatly corrupted, but is not a bad thing of itself. Anyways, the second part of this is to subdue the earth, and to rule over the earth. Here mankind, created in the image of God has a job: Ruling and Subduing the Earth.

2. Work was the first man's first responsibility. Notice Genesis 2:15. "The the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden to cultivate it and to keep it." Notice, that man's purspose in the garden is work. It's not to kick back and enjoy the scenery. Adam was not put in the garden of eden for a longterm vacation. Adam was given a job, and God was his boss. Work is a theological Issue.

3. Working was a responsibility of man prior to the fall. Work is not a result of sin, man had a job before the fall. Obviously, the fact that work is often laborious and tedious and hard is a result of the fall (Genesis 3:17-19), but work itself is not a result of the fall. Work is not a result of sin.

4. Work has to do with wisdom. Read the proverbs. Their is a clear contrast between the wise man and the fool. The fool is pictured as a sluggard, while the wise man is a man who labors diligently. People who don't like to work, don't like to work because they are not in union with Christ, who is wisdom personified. Christ himself was a carpenter by trade. The Savior, who is wisdom personified, worked. Working has to do with wisdom, and laziness has to do with foolishness.

While, I think we should be willing to accept financial assistance, I seriously wonder about guys who are going into ministry who don't work and just go play games and go out to eat on their mom and dad's dollar. I think there is something theologically wrong with that. I believe if a man is going to be wise, he will get a job. (You don't have to have two jobs and work like a maniac), but working is a theological issue. Working is our end of the covenant. Working is our responsibility as people created in the image of God. Working is not a result of the fall. When we go to work, we should not go begrudgingly, but we should do all to the glory of God, because we are working ultimately for a person more supreme and preeminent than the people who cut our paychecks, we are working for the one who has given us treasures beyond comparison, and a mansion in heaven better than any salary can offer. We are working for our Savior and our God, Jesus Christ. So, as I go to work tonight and tomorrow afternoon, and whenever I work, I am going to go to work understanding that employment is a theological issue and that ultimately I am working for the glory of God, as His image bearer, reflecting his name and glory in the workplace. Be Blessed!


Rick Beckman said...

I'm reminded of 2 Thessalonians 3:10 and context; Paul pretty much lays out that if a man is able but unwilling to work, he does not deserve to eat. Such lead "undisciplined lives" according to verse 11.

As you said, truly, work is a theological issue.

May we continue to work as we would for Christ directly, and may we continue to do so with thanksgiving in our hearts.

Joshua A. Hitchcock said...

Rick, I had to keep reminding myself of this as I was putting up boxes of toys and Christmas decorations last night...It is a very boring job...but it pays the bills. (At least I hope it will). Anyway, work is a theological issue and it has everything to do with our relationship to Christ. If we are connected to Christ and abiding in him, we will work heartily as unto the Lord.

Andrew Esping said...

Making manifest the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ. Letting our light shine for him! Thats why I love Colossians 3:23-24

23 Whatever you do, work heartily,as for the Lord and not for men, 24knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ

I mean what an honor to be able to serve the Lord! An honor of which I am so underserving. Whats even worse I don't always work with with my heart in the right place. Either I don't want to or I'm doing it for my image. More proof of the corruption of man =(.