The Ministry of Competence

serveDorothy Sayers (Creed or Chaos?, p56-7):

The church’s approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to exhorting him to not be drunk and disorderly in his leisure hours and to come to church on Sundays. What the church should be telling him is this: that the very first demand that his religion makes upon him is that he should make good tables.

How the Gospel Frees Us

glovesTim Keller, in Every Good Endeavor:

The gospel frees us from the relentless pressure of having to prove ourselves and secure our identity through work. It also frees us from a condescending attitude toward less sophisticated labor and from envy over more exalted work.

The God of Manual Labor

tools 1One of the surprising things about Jesus is that He came to us as a manual laborer, an ordinary carpenter. The Greeks would have wanted a philosopher-king; the Romans would have preferred a brave and noble statesman. Interestingly, our Sovereign God came in the garb of an ordinary laborer from the backwaters of Galilee.

In ancient cultures, people had great disdain for ordinary work. They stigmatized manual labor like farming and caring of children as work fit only for servants. The Egyptians wouldn’t eat with ordinary Hebrew shepherds (Gen. 43:32). Pharao’s daughter found Moses in the river and her first mothering instinct was to hire a Hebrew servant to take care of the baby (Exodus 26:10). [Read more…]

That’s Why We Call It a Church “Service”

craneThe Hebrew word AVODAH (work) in Genesis 2:15 is rendered as “service,” “work,” or “craftmanship” in many places in the Bible, yet at other times it is translated as “worship.” Avodah is the word used to describe the back-breaking hard work of the Hebrews making bricks as slaves in Egypt (used four times in Exodus 1:14).

Interestingly, the same word is used of the skilled workers who built the tabernacle (Exodus 35:24); the fine craftmanship of linen workers (1 Chronicles 4:21); and in the context where Solomon assigned priests for their temple ministry in 2 Chronicles 8:14.

The point is that whether they were making bricks, crafting fine linen, or leading people in corporate worship, the Old Testament teaches a seamless connection between work and worship.  [Read more…]

Why Christians Should be Hardworking People

toolsIn his book Every Good Endeavor, Tim Keller mentioned that work is as basic as food, rest, friendship, prayer, and sexuality. When people don’t work, they feel less significant than others who do. This is especially true for those who used to be busy but are suddenly cutoff from work.

We know this is true. We’ve all heard of elderly or handicapped people who are depressed because they don’t feel very useful anymore. Meanwhile, we also automatically place high value on people who hold important jobs. Subconsciously, we recognize that work factors into our perception of importance.  [Read more…]