How to Discover What the Bible Says About Your Kind of Work
How does your specific kind of work (or sector) fit into God’s story? How can the truth of the gospel inform your daily work today in light of the coming kingdom of God? As you explore these questions, it may be helpful to think about your kind or sector of work both broadly (e.g., education) and narrowly (e.g., teacher of 8- and 9-year-olds in a public/state school in a medium-sized city).
As you seek to bring your work into conformity with God’s will and reflect kingdom realities even now, use the following template to think through the various aspects of God’s intention for your specific work might prove helpful.
Creating and Sustaining: How do the kinds of work you do fit into God’s original intent for creation and the cultural mandate in Genesis 1:28?
- Would your kind of work exist in a perfect world? What provision for the world’s true needs does your work provide? Think broadly about your kind of work. For example, in a perfect world police wouldn’t be needed to subdue criminals, but would they be needed to bring order and safety?
- (See https://www.theologyofwork.org/old-testament/genesis-1-11-and-work/god-creates-and-equips-people-to-work-genesis-126-225/provision-genesis-129-30-28-14)
- Beyond traits common to humanity, in what distinctive ways can people who work in your sector reflect the image of God? What aspects of God’s person and character stand out in your kind of work?
- (See https://www.theologyofwork.org/old-testament/genesis-1-11-and-work/god-creates-and-equips-people-to-work-genesis-126-225/people-are-created-in-gods-image-genesis-126-27-51 )
- What good does your sector seek to bring to the world? What specific roles does your kind of work have in exercising the dominion God gave to humanity in Genesis 1:26 and 2:5? (For some ideas on this see https://www.theologyofwork.org/old-testament/genesis-1-11-and-work/god-creates-and-equips-people-to-work-genesis-126-225/dominion
- How does your sector bring joy to the world?
Dealing with the Fall: How is your kind of work affected by the Fall?
- Beyond generalities, how has your kind of work been made more difficult, dangerous, or unrewarding by humankind’s rebellion and the resulting curse described in Genesis 3?
- (See https://www.theologyofwork.org/old-testament/genesis-1-11-and-work/people-fall-into-sin-in-work-genesis-31-24 )
- Beyond ethical lapses common to humankind, what specific temptations do people in your sector need to be aware of and avoid?
- What limits and ethical standards and boundaries does your sector need to respect in order to fulfill God's intentions for your kind of work (See https://www.theologyofwork.org/old-testament/genesis-1-11-and-work/god-creates-and-equips-people-to-work-genesis-126-225/limits-genesis-23-217)
- What specific ethical standards are important for your sector given the pervasive problem of sin?
- (See https://www.theologyofwork.org/new-testament/luke/the-kingdom-of-god-shows-up-at-work-luke/john-the-baptist-teaches-workplace-ethics)
- What injustices exist in, or are fomented by, your sector, and what role can your kind of work play in doing justice as God intends?
- (See https://www.theologyofwork.org/old-testament/leviticus-and-work/holiness-leviticus-1727/doing-justice-leviticus-191516 )
Redeeming and Restoring: How is your kind of work being redeemed and how is it restoring the goodness of God’s creation in the world today?
- What scripture passages speak to the kinds of work you do?
- What do distinctives of good work look like in your sector?
- To whom can you point that is doing exemplary work in your sector?
- What kinds of relationships are needed for your kind of work to perform its role as God intends? (See https://www.theologyofwork.org/old-testament/genesis-1-11-and-work/god-creates-and-equips-people-to-work-genesis-126-225/relationships )
- What gifts is God giving people in your sector to equip them for their work? (See https://www.theologyofwork.org/new-testament/1-corinthians/gifted-communities-1-cor-121-1440)
- What fruits of God's Spirit do you observe stemming from the work of your sector? (See https://www.theologyofwork.org/auxiliary-pages/fruits-of-the-spirit-galatians-522-23 )
Anticipating Christ’s Return: What will your kind of work look like in the full reign of Christ in the New Heavens and New Earth? How does your kind of work extend the kingdom of God on earth?
- Imagine your work when Christ’s reign is fully established on earth. What will your kind of work look like when Christ makes all things new? Will your kind of work still exist? If so, how will it change?
- (See https://www.theologyofwork.org/new-testament/revelation/applications-in-todays-workplace-revelation)
- What insight do these passages give? Isaiah 65; Revelation 21 and 22
- Isaiah 65, see https://www.theologyofwork.org/old-testament/isaiah/gods-view-of-our-work-isaiah/works-ultimate-meaning-isaiah-60ff
- Revelation 21 and 22, see https://www.theologyofwork.org/new-testament/revelation/a-tale-of-two-cities-revelation-17-22
- What specifically can you do to move your kind of work closer to what our work will be like when Christ makes all things new? What do others in your sector need to do?