Loosen Sin's Grip on Work

Redeem Work


 As a pastor it can be very easy to divide the world into the sacred and the secular: the church is good and the world is bad. But Jesus called us to live well in the world, and that involves our work, too. In the following videos produced by Made to Flourish, Al Mohler, Tim Keller, and Mike Wittmer, offer their perspectives on the importance of equipping God's people to redeem their jobs for God's glory.

In this first video, Al Mohler, President of of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, orients us to the topic of doing holy work in an unholy world.



 The work we do in this world is affected in every way by sin. The people in our congregations have jobs that suffer the corruption of darkness. But God can redeem the work of His people as they live and work to glorify Him. 

How does your congregation view their "secular" jobs? How do you typically view those jobs? Do you see a hard division between "ministry" jobs, and "secular" work?
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In your view, what would it look like to live fully human before God and reclaim the work He gave us?
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Because of sin, our work has become hard labor. But at its core, work is something that God wants to redeem through His people. As a pastor, you have the unique opportunity to guide and equip your congregation to engage in the redemptive reclaiming of work. 

 
Earthlings Made for Earth


Once we recognize the goodness of this thing we call a job, it's important to work through how to lead our congregations to redeem their work. Mike Wittmer, Professor of Systematic Theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, walks through both the theological reality behind redemptive work, and the practical implications for pastors. 



Jesus' redemptive work in the world didn't make us into Martians. God sent His Son to redeem the world and pave the way for humans to ultimately live as He intended us to live in Eden. The whole point of redemption is to flourish as a human, and, as a pastor, you can help people find God's best for them both now and in the future. 

Which of Mike's points jumped out at you most? How do you feel about leading your people to be worldly Christians?
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Mike highlighted the importance of grabbing both the heavenly blessing and the earthly pleasure that God gives us, and then living lives that are completely under His authority. How would your life look if you chased both halves of the human experience—the physical and spiritual?
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Redemption is paramount. Jesus frees us from our sin. But redemption sends us back into the world to show the lost what true, redeemed humanity looks like. What would your community look like if the people in your church lived out the calling to true human life?
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The point of redemption is to allow humans to flourish as they were made. Does this view change your approach to discipleship? If so, how?
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In light of Mike's short talk, how will you teach your people to go about doing their jobs? How does a worldly view of redemption change the common perspective of work?
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God made the earth for human enjoyment, and He made humans to care for and rule over the earth. Sin corrupted the goodness of earth, the goodness of work, and the God-ness that dwelt in humanity. Through Jesus, God is at work in redeeming humanity and restoring His people to full human flourishing. As you lead your congregation, keep their eyes set on the hope of redemption, and teach them to treat their jobs as an opportunity to reclaim what we lost.

When It's Hard to Flourish


God may desire for His people to flourish, but what happens when they don't? What happens when, as a pastor, your ministry struggles? Tim Keller, Founding Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, helps us wrestle with the tension of doing redeeming work in a fallen world.



When we get to do the work that God designed us for individually, we feel free. But the effect of sin in the world means that, sometimes, even doing the work God created us for leads to disappointment. It can feel like we're not flourishing. In the midst of moments of wilting, we can still cling to the great providence of God who cares for His people.

In your own work, how have you seen the resonant effects of sin on your work? Where have you seen God redeem your work?
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As a pastor you have the ability to cultivate in your congregation both the freedom of good work and endurance in the midst of struggle. Where have you seen these two dualities at play in your congregation? What circumstances helped people flourish? Caused them to wilt?
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How can you this week disciple your people in both appreciating the good nature of work, but also live redemptively in light of sin's corrupting touch?
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 God made work good. He created us to flourish on the earth for His glory and our benefit. Sin corrupted both our world and our work, but, through Jesus, God has set out to redeem both humanity and the world. As believers, we participate with Him in rolling back the stain of sin, and working well. Lead your people into their work for God's glory so that they may flourish.


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.