How do we talk about work?

In an earlier post on rest and restlessness, I said that we are likely to be able to help each other in the area of getting rest if we start with a better approach to work. I then went on to say that we often see work as a necessary evil and that prevents us from finding fruitfulness in our work. So, how we talk about work matters and specifically how we talk about it at church. Here are some thoughts about this.

Firstly, we need to think about how much time we do spend talking about work from a Christian perspective. Those of us who preach should have a look back at past sermons in order to see how much application was given over to workplace contexts. Those of us who lead home groups should ask whether we are encouraging each other to see the workplace as a mission field and praying informed prayers for one another.

Secondly, those of us who are pastors need to think about how we talk about own vocation. Do we make it sound like pastoral ministry is the only serious option out there? Do we talk as though any time we spent in secular employment was just a stepping-stone to doing this? Those who are considering a calling into pastoral ministry also need to think seriously about how they talk as well. Do they give the sense that their current work is something they desperately need to escape.

Thirdly, we need to make sure that we talk about work as a good thing to do in and of itself. We may appreciate the opportunities for gospel witness in the workplace but some people talk as though the sole purpose of going to work is to find gospel opportunities with colleagues. We need to find delight in the witness that comes from being good and loyal workers.

Fourthly, we need to model good conversation as we talk about the past week and the week ahead. Do we primarily talk as though the weekend is an escape, we hated the week just gone and we are not looking forward to the week ahead.

Fifthly, we need to set an example by how we live, avoiding workaholism by arriving at work and leaving at sensible times, not bringing work home but at the same time being hard workers and taking pleasure in doing a good job.

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