05 July 2020

We have been looking at Creation and the whole issue of how we approach Genesis and how we understand our origins.

Last time we touched on the Gender agenda! “Male and Female he created them” We explored the complex world of human relationships and how Genesis sets a benchmark for human behaviour. We are moving on to the theme of “work”. Mankind is put to work in the garden.

Attitudes to work vary. Oscar Wilde said, “work is the curse of the drinking classes!” John Stott described a notice in a large New York Firm “Sometime between starting and quitting time, without infringing on lunch periods, coffee breaks, rest periods, storytelling, ticket selling, holiday planning and the rehashing on yesterday’s TV programmes, we ask that each employee find some time for a work break. This may seem radical, but it might aid steady employment and assure regular pay checks”.

Christopher Wren had a conversation on the St Pauls site with three stonemasons. He asked them what they were doing. One replied “I’m cutting stone”. The next replied “I’m earning a living”. The third replied “I’m building a cathedral!”

Historically the church has not been good at connecting faith and work. Our Sunday activities and our corporate worship bear little relationship to what goes on Monday to Friday, A survey revealed the following:

  • 50% of Christians have never heard a sermon on work
  • 70% have never been taught a theology of work
  • less than 25% have ever been asked by their minister about their witness at work
  • 75% have never been taught a theology of vocation

One Christian sales manager put it this way:

“In the 30 years of my professional career my church has never once suggested that there may be an accounting of my on the job ministry to others. My church has never asked if I needed any kind of support in what I am doing. There has never once been an enquiry into the types of ethical decisions I must face or whether I seek to communicate my faith to my co-workers…in short I must conclude that my church does not have the least interest in whether, or how I minister in my daily life” (I trust we are better now!)

There is a danger of subconsciously buying into the notion of a Spiritual hierarchy which places spiritual work above secular work.

The author Mark Greene in Thank God it’s Monday comments: “The Sacred Secular Divide (SSD) leads us to believe that really holy people become missionaries, moderately holy people become pastors and people who are not much use to God get a job!”

He rightly says HUMBUG! 98% of us are not missionaries, pastors or full time Christian workers! Jesus did not call us to be part time Christian workers and to take up our cross daily but only when we get home from work! There is a bigger and a wider vision for the daily work we do.

Billy Graham’s wife Ruth had a sign over her kitchen sink “Divine service held here three times daily!”

Enjoy your work!