During the September-October teaching series on ‘The Questions Jesus Asks and Why?’ We will continue what we began this summer with different people from the congregation telling their story—their faith journey stories—what has shaped and formed them along the way. This has been very meaningful and helpful to many of us.
However, we’d like to continue this storytelling somewhat differently: ‘interview-style’ (in keeping with our ‘questions’ theme!) with each person being interviewed by another with a particular set of questions related to their work or vocation—their job. How have our vocations/jobs shaped our faith and vice versa and importantly how might they contribute to ‘the common good’ of our society? Jeremiah the prophet wrote centuries ago to the Jewish exiles in Babylon, to ‘seek the welfare of the city.’ So, how do our jobs contribute to that ‘welfare’ of this city we call Cranbrook? We will interview women and men, working and retired, to hear how they not only make a living but also attempt to make a difference.
So, why are we doing this?
Most of our lives are spent in the marketplace, not ‘at church.’ (We spend on average just over 2000 hours a year at our work.) Much of our identity and purpose is tied up in what we do as work, as it should be, as we’re created in the image of a Worker/Maker. The first person in the Bible to be ‘filled with the Spirit’ was not a prophet, priest or king, but an artisan—a tradesman, Bezalel. (Exodus 31) Jesus and the apostles all worked for a living. Paul was a tentmaker. And the early church grew not primarily through the ministry of pastors and missionaries, but through men and women at their work.
Erastus the Engineer As an example, Paul mentions one of his co-workers, Erastus, who may have overseen the maintenance of Roman civic infrastructure, such as aqueducts and sewers. He writes, “Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings. Erastus, who is the city’s director of public works, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings.” (Ro 16.23) Paul saw no conflict between Erastus’ engineering job and his ministry among God’s people. It was all of one piece.
Just what is ‘’the work of the Lord?” In another letter Paul writes, that in light of Christ’s resurrection we are to, “be steadfast and immovable. Always excel in the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1Co 15.58) It’s clear from the context that the ‘work of the Lord’ and ‘your labor’ is not only what we might call ‘church work’, but the work we do every day, our “every day, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life... (Ro 12.1-2, The Message. Our Lord gives new life and purpose not only to our souls, but to our jobs.