In the Beginning God Created Work

Work Isn't Just a Necessity

For the majority of the people sitting in the pew on Sunday, the prospect of returning to work on Monday looms in the backs of their minds. When the weekend comes to a close, few people are excited to go to work. In the following videos produced by Made to Flourish, Tim Keller, Jeff Vanderstelt, and Mike Wittmer challenge pastors to help their congregations rethink work. By looking at God's good intentions for work, believers can find not just joy in work, but also God's purpose for their jobs.

In this first video, Tim Keller, Founding Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, walks through the transforming theology of work's good origins.

 God created work in paradise. But when many of the people in our congregation think of paradise, they imagine beaches, sunblock, and blue oceans. But Tim points out that, as humans, we were built to work. Because we were made in God's image, working makes us feel human.

How would you describe your congregation's theology of work? How have you presented work in your past teaching?
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If God created all work to be good—not just full-time ministry—then what value does the work of your congregation have in God's eyes?
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How would God's high value of work change how you preach or teach or disciple?
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When we're bleary-eyed and haven't had our coffee yet, it can be easy to look at work like an enemy lurking at the end of a long commute. But you can give purpose to your people as they go to work by reframing their theology of a job. God created us to work, and work honors Him. 

Created to Rule

We know God made us to work in paradise, but what about the future paradise? In this second video, Mike Wittmer, Professor of Systematic Theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, walks through the implications of work-in-eternity and how it impacts the work lives of believers today.

 When humans work, they mediate God's rule over the created world. And the future hope of believers means working perfectly in a perfect world administrating God's perfect rule over creation. In the meantime, God calls His people to champion His Kingdom by doing their jobs well. When Christians do excellent work, God's reputation grows.

How would the people in your congregation respond if you told them that they will continue to work on the New Earth?
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In light of Mike's points, what value is there in teaching your congregation to work well?
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What impact would your church have on your community if all of the people in your congregation who worked did their jobs in excellence out of service to God?
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We will work for the rest of our lives, and then forever after that. If we shape our understanding of work by God's design and desire, we can grow not only in appreciation of our jobs, but in love for God's own work in the world. Teach your congregation the long-view of their vocations, and challenge them to work with excellence. 

Let Them Speak

 In the previous two videos, we saw the "what" and the "why" when it comes to rethinking our theology of work. In this last video, Jeff Vanderstelt, Lead Teaching Pastor at DoxaChurch in Bellevue, Washington, will address one aspect of the "how." How do we help reshape our congregation's view of work, and equip them to do gospel work at work?

 It's important to look back on the origins of work—to see that God made work as a good part of our human existence. But it's just a crucial to highlight for believers what it looks like to treat work as a calling.

What ways can you practically show your congregation that their work demonstrates the glory of God?
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Who in your congregation could you invite to share how God uses them in their daily work?
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Despite our feelings, work is good. God created humans to work and to mediate His rule over the world through their efforts. As a pastor, remind your people of the good origins of work, and equip them to do their jobs with excellence in service to God.

To find out more about the ministry of Made to Flourish, or to find out how to become a part of their pastors' network, click here.