Introduction to Job
The book of Job explores the relationship between prosperity, adversity and faith in God. Do we have faith that God is the source of all good things? Then what does it mean if the good things disappear from our lives? Do we abandon our faith in God or in his goodness? Or do we take it a sign that God is punishing us? How can we remain faithful to God in times of suffering? What hope can we have for the future?
These questions arise in every sphere of life. But they have a special connection to work because one of the main reasons we work is to achieve some level of prosperity. We work — among many other reasons — to get a roof over our heads, put food on our tables, and to provide good things for ourselves and the people we love. Adversity may threaten whatever prosperity we have found, and faith is difficult to maintain in times of economic adversity. The chief character in the book of Job begins in prosperity and experiences nearly unimaginable adversity, including the loss of his livelihood and wealth. Over the course of the book, his faith is severely tested as he experiences both dazzling success and crushing defeat in his work and life.
We will explore the book’s many workplace applications to work. Is economic success a sign of our abilities or of God’s blessing? What does job loss or failure tell us about God’s assessment of our work? How can faith in God help us handle failures and losses? How do stresses in the workplace affect our family lives and our health? What can believers do to support one another in workplace adversities? How can we handle feelings of anger at God if he allows us to suffer unjust treatment at work? We will delve into Job’s practical treatise on relationships between superiors and subordinates, founded on the equal respect due each person created by the one and only God. Finally, we will consider the remarkable contribution Job makes to the economic rights of women.