Skip to main content

Finding Deeper Meaning in Our Work

Took this picture from here.
Over the last few months the Lord has been leading me into a deeper discussion and involvement with groups of people exploring the idea of marketplace ministry and a refocusing on classical notions of vocational calling.  This is peculiar because this is happening at a time when I am increasingly frustrated with, and questioning, what my future career goals and pathways are.

In an article for intrust.org Bethel Seminary professor Chris Armstrong quotes Jeff Van Duzer (the dean of the Seattle Pacific University School of Business and Economics) who says, "The average person will work 100,000 hours in their lifetime.  This seems like an enormous waste if it's spent doing fundamentally meaningless things whose only value is a paycheck."  

Armstrong quotes Van Duzer again in an article written for Leadership Journal, "Part of burnout is losing track of your purpose.  Now you're working harder and harder, faster and faster for that which is seemingly more and more meaningless."

I know the exhaustion of running faster and faster, feeling like I'm working for nothing but a paycheck.  Maybe you do too.  Many Christians sense a disconnect between worshiping God on Sunday and what they spend the bulk of their time doing the other six days of the week.  Sadly, many churches have unwittingly done little to help their congregations bridge the gap.  The net result is lots of tired men and women who don't see any connection between the purposes of God and the purpose statement on the wall at their place of business.

In reading and wrestling through this I found these nuggets of insight in Armstrong's Leadership Journal article that I find helpful as try to tie my faith and work more closely together...
Vocation, before being 'professionalized in churches,' at one time was understood to mean that everyone is called to both salvation and service, without a clergy-laity divide 
Listening to the teaching of Gregory the Great, a 6th C Pope, we learn that in order to be truly spiritual one mustn't be simply monastic, but must flow back and forth between avoiding distraction of the flesh to reach the spirit, and coming down from the heights of the spiritual life to attend to concerns of the bodily life 
Work, if properly approached, becomes for us a sanctifying thing, driving us to our knees for times of contemplation and transformation 
Luther and the Reformers said that working one's ordinary station in life with a heart renewed by the love of Christ, and showing forth there a pattern of life that glorified God and served humankind, enacted a more faithful life of prayerful discipleship 
Luther believed that in serving others through our vocations in the world, that we were masking the hands and feet of Christ, serving the world in Christ's place
I hope you might find these thoughts as helpful to you as they have been to me as I seek to find deeper meaning in my contributions to the marketplace.



Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

5 Reasons I Won't Let My Kids Wear Clothes with Skulls on Them

Yesterday I threw out a poll question on my Facebook and Twitter pages.  The poll question asked, "Should Christians wear attire with skulls on it?"  I received some great comments from people with a variety of opinions.  You can read the comments on my timeline from 8/8/13.

My opinion is that Christians should not wear clothes with skulls on them.

I don't have one specific Bible verse that I can use to prove my point.  Jesus never said, "Thou shalt not wear clothes with skulls."  I do however think there are number of conclusions that can be drawn from Scripture that support my opinion.

1.  Jesus does care about the clothes we wear.
I don't believe God's people are free to wear whatever they want.  From the Old Testament all the way through the New Testament you can find Biblical language related to clothes.  There are laws in Leviticus about clothes.  God instructed the OT priests on what to wear don't believe God's people are free to wear wh…

How Stephanie and I Celebrated 15 Years of Marriage

Yesterday Stephanie and I celebrated 15 years of marriage! 
To kick off the festivities, on Wednesday afternoon Stephanie bought a new car from Harry Browns in Faribault. She said good goodbye to the minivan and bought a 2014 Dodge Journey. She picked out a great new vehicle and her dad Ralph channeled his inner New Yorker to haggle us a great price.
We started the day Thursday driving to St. Peter to pick up Isabelle from the "Gustie" Basketball and Leadership camp. She spent 4 days there learning, practicing and having a blast. We celebrated together as a family with some Godfather's Pizza!
After getting back to Northfield I dropped the kids off at some friend's houses so Stephanie and I could be alone together. Having great friends who help with the kids is such a blessing. 
Stephanie had the idea that we should get tattoos together. She didn't have to work hard to convince me! After asking for recommendations on Facebook we decided to check out  Guns and Nee…

Lessons from Mt Everest

It would be great is life was all fun and easy and exciting like glissading down a mountain side.  However life is actually much more like climbing up the mountain.  It is difficult, painful, dangerous and exhilarating all wrapped up into one.
Last Sunday I preached at a church in Northfield and I shared some thoughts about this.  I compared lessons I've learned studying mountain climbing to lessons I've learned living life.  Here are the five things I talked about, along with some accompanying Bible verses.
1. You have to have a goal and you have to work hard towards achieving it, sometimes for a long time ---> Jer 29:10-14  2. You have to expect setbacks (injury, weather, enemies, catastrophe) and roll with them ----> 2 Cor 4:8-10  3. You have to push yourself beyond what you thought possible ----> Phil 4:13  4. In most cases, you need others to help you (guides, logistics, cheerleaders, friends, expedition leader) ----> Heb 10:15   5. You have to acknowledg…