Might Jesus have built a tower for a customer but never have been fully paid? Can we conclude Jesus understands the business world as an insider? He probably worked as a sub-contractor alongside other artisans, completing projects, and handling finances—negotiating bids, purchasing supplies, and contributing to family living expenses. For those many years Jesus worked with his hands in masonry and carpentry, in good and bad weather, getting paid and not getting paid.
Jesus can identify with the ups and downs of a business workday. Reflecting on the three-sector workforce framework table 8. He implicitly acknowledged government has a legitimate role, by paying taxes himself Mt ; see also , by not requiring Zacchaeus as a chief tax collector to change his profession Lk , and by including the tax collector Matthew as one of the twelve disciples Mt , ; he wrote the gospel of Matthew.
Research and commentary by Dr. Craig Keener
Regarding the private, not-for-profit sector, Jesus lived on the donations of others during his three years of public ministry Lk , Mk , Jn Finally, Jesus worked in the for-profit sector in the building trade. I think we can infer from his messianic work, that Jesus also gave this same kind of excellence to his job as a builder. As a card-carrying member of this group—having been a pastor and now a seminary professor—I become aware of my limiting core belief only late in life.
I acknowledge that the church cooperates with the business sector in various ways, such as applying helpful business leadership principles. Several factors contribute to this long-standing disconnect. A subtle divide exists between the Church and business, between business schools and seminaries, and between realms considered sacred and secular. Tozer d. One of the greatest hindrances to internal peace which the Christian encounters is the common habit of dividing our lives into two areas, the sacred and the secular. As these areas are conceived to exist apart from each other and to be morally and spiritually incompatible, and as we are compelled by necessities of living to be always crossing back and forth from the one to the other, our inner lives tend to break up so that we live a divided instead of a unified life.
This is the old sacred-secular antithesis. Most Christians are caught in its trap.
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Yet this false dichotomy has become entrenched in an institutional way in the church. Sadly, such hierarchical valuing negatively impacts believers in business. John Beckett, Chairman of R.
Beckett, shares,. For years, I thought my involvement in business was a second-class endeavor—necessary to put bread on the table, but somehow less noble than more sacred pursuits like being a minister or a missionary. This summary helps provide a background for our discussion of money in the next section. Creation is good and thus physical matter is good.
Good News about Jesus Christ and the introduction to Mark’s Gospel—Mark | Bible Background
Work is normative for humans, part of our design and destiny. Work has eternal intrinsic value. All good labor is equally pleasing to God. There is no hierarchy of ultimate job valuations among the three sectors: for-profit, not-for-profit, and public. Jesus affirmed work within each sector. A robust and substantial for-profit sector is required to sustain the not-for-profit and public sectors. Many of us earn money through our labor to meet our material needs and so we can share with others.
Workers are worthy of their wages and businesses must make a profit so wages can be paid. Some jobs are more spectacular, others more mundane, and people may wish they could have done other kinds of work. Regardless, in doing good work, we each can cooperate with God for kingdom values and purposes, being empowered by the Spirit of God. We can infer, from our study in chapter five, that Jesus himself exemplified such daily living at his building job.
A formation approach to our job, our ministry, our work. Christians desire guidance for how to integrate their God life with their work life—especially those in the business sector. Ken Eldred suggests one integrative model that highlights a three-fold Christian ministry focus at the office: Pointing others to God has been a traditional and important idea.
For example, what happens when people notice our good actions? Bill Heatley, an IT professional, wanted to invite God to operate in and through him. Bill was involved in a project in which two departments were coordinating aspects of the project. The only problem was that these two groups had an eighteen-month history of feuding and Bill was new on the job. I thanked the management in another meeting, and I sent an email to her boss expressing my appreciation for her hard work. As a result of this powerful experience, Heatley confessed, his God-confidence increased, encouraging him to look for more opportunities to make space for God at work.
We may not often see how doing good work may involve life-and-death circumstances.
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David Larsen shared with me how he greatly appreciated the smooth roads paved by the works department in Dallas, Texas. The pothole-free streets permitted an ambulance to transport his granddaughter, whose life was threatened by any major jostling, from one hospital to another without a mishap. Work prayer projects. Consider these prayer projects as a way to emphasize a formation approach at work. Talk with Jesus about your reflections.
Do any insights have implications for your work? We earn credibility to share the good news through developing a good track record in each of these three areas: competency doing excellent work on the job , character making wise job decisions of integrity , and consideration or concern showing genuine mercy and compassion for our colleagues.
Does a particular event or person come to mind that awakens some further formational attention? Envision yourself partnering with Jesus to do your work well, since Jesus is very interested in your job as part of his kingdom. Yet major differences remain among Christian leaders on these matters, as is the case with other Christian doctrines. Differences are evident in the biblical teaching about meeting the challenges of the poor.
Another organization, The Acton Institute, promotes the integration of Judeo-Christian truths and business www. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, , p.
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