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Theology of Work

What’s your mindset on Monday mornings?

“God, I’m going to worship You and serve You and my neighbor by going to work. Show me how to work creatively, display You well, and make disciples where You have called me to work.”

For centuries, the Church has viewed pastoral and missionary work as being the most spiritual way of serving God and others, with “full-time ministry” being an elite category. But all God’s people are full-time disciples of Jesus, wherever they live and work.

But how do we do that? How do we live with a seamless connection between Sunday values and Monday jobs? Explore this theology of work as you bring the gospel into every aspect of your life.

God Works

God worked and created a beautiful universe. The crown of His work is man, His image-bearer: created for Him, created to work like Him, created to display Him to others throughout the world (Genesis 1-2). We’re following in His image when we work as He works.

God Calls Us to Work

God assigns and calls us to our various jobs where we’re to live out our faith and make disciples (Acts 17:26; 1 Corinthians 7:17).

Work is built into humanity’s DNA as a reflection of the God who worked to create us in His image. From the manual laborer (like God who worked the dust to create us and who later became a carpenter) to the artist (like God who created the infinite beauty of the universe and all that is in it), all honest work has dignity because we’re doing what we’re made to do as image-bearers of a working God.

Work Glorifies God

Humanity is to reflect the image of God throughout the earth as stewards of the creation (Genesis 1:28). This is where the global purpose of God ― the Great Commission ― begins.

We are mediators who stand between God and the people of our workplaces, representing them to God and, by our love, representing God to them. This makes every workplace a sacred field of ministry in which we love and serve others. Transformation begins to occur in individuals, communities, and ultimately society as you enter and engage it. For most of God’s people, the primary setting for this ― after the home ― is the workplace. 

Jesus is Our Boss

Four times in Ephesians 6:5-9 the apostle Paul highlights the reality that we’re actually working for Jesus. If so, what does working for Him look like? Obedience, respect, and whole-hearted service for others. In Titus 2:9-10, Paul adds to this thought, saying that we serve others “to show that [we] can be fully trusted, so that in every way [we] will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.” And Paul is not talking to people with perfect bosses and coworkers; in fact, many of his readers were slaves! Into a world of unfairness, we follow Jesus as our boss.

The Workplace is an Opportunity

Few of God’s people spend their lives in full-time church ministry. Instead, most of us work in offices, schools, hospitals, stores, and factories alongside people with different worldviews, religious backgrounds, and social conditions. There, believers like us can know that God has called us to work and display Him just as much as He has called our pastor to do likewise in a church. We’re salt and light, tasked by Jesus to bring His love to life in everyday places — a task against which the gates of hell will not prevail (Matthew 16:18). Into this place of ministry, locally and globally, we’re uniquely gifted to carry the good news of Jesus.

Looking for more about work?

Here are some book recommendations for further reading.

The Integrated Life by Ken Eldred  Christ@Work, Opening Doors by Kent Humphries A Better Way by Dale Losch Every Good Endeavor by Timothy Keller  Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work by Tom Nelson  Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey