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Work: A Holy Calling
|Whatever job you do, it is a holy calling, a sacred calling, a responsibility given to you by God to serve Him there. Too often we think of our work, if we are not working specifically for the church, as being secular, second-class, having nothing to do with true spirituality, and little to do with being a faithful Christian. You can think of all the incorrect expressions we use to mark this division between the sacred and the secular: We speak of people who are in “full-time ministry” as if only they are “full-time Christians.”
We have a heritage in many churches which devalues ordinary work and sees it having little importance in the Kingdom of God. Why is that? Partly because there has been a retreat by Christians from the general culture: “The world is so worldly,” we say, “so what really matters to God is what we do in the church.” We can tend to fill up our lives with lots of meetings so we will feel more spiritual, as if it is those meetings that are spiritual. This is a very serious misunderstanding of what Scripture teaches.
Perhaps another reason for our low opinion of our work is that we think that only evangelism, only preaching the Gospel, only teaching the Word is of real importance in the Kingdom of God—everything else is secondary. And I am sure you have heard sermons and Bible studies in which you have basically been made to feel that if you were really dedicated to God, you would immediately apply to a mission board or register at a seminary and start training for the ministry. But that simply is not biblical. God does not call all people to proclaim His Word; I am one of those He has called to do that. But he has equally called people to be in other work and to honor Him, whatever their occupation.
The Value of Work
Jerram Barrs, Professor, is the founder, Senior Scholar-in-Resident and Chair of Apologetics at the Francis Schaeffer Institute at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He teaches apologetics and outreach, among other subjects, as Professor of Christianity and Contemporary Culture at Covenant. His publications include Being Human, Shepherds and Sheep, Who Are the Peacemakers?, The Great Rescue, The Heart of Evangelism, Through His Eyes, Learning Evangelism from Jesus, The Heart of Prayer, and Echoes of Eden, as well as the video series Building Up Bridges, Breaking Down Walls. Upon his return to St. Louis, Barrs helped to plant a PCA church in the city.