All work is typically done out of a worldview. Everyone has a worldview, a framework through which they interpret reality and answer life’s ultimate questions. The temptation then for the Christian, is simply to plunge into workplaces dominated by secular worldviews and conduct their work lives according to the reigning paradigms, rather than seeing work from the lens of a Christian worldview and doing their work with Christian distinctiveness.
To be a Christian in the workplace is much more than being honest or not sleeping with your colleagues. It even means more than evangelizing or holding a Bible Study at your place of work. Rather, it is thinking through the implications of the Gospel and living under God’s kingship for your entire work-life. When you do that, people will find it electrifying when they see a balance of moral conviction, compassion and competence.
Many Christians believe that Gospel of Jesus Christ is just the good news to be preached to unbelievers, or simply used as a ticket to get to heaven. But Dr Tim Keller says, “The Gospel is not just the ABCs but the A-Z of Christianity. The Gospel is not just the minimum required doctrine to enter the Kingdom, but the way we make progress in the Kingdom.” The Gospel transforms our hearts and our thinking, and it changes our approaches to absolutely everything. It affects literally everything about us. It is a power that creates a new resurrected life in us.
How the Gospel Transforms our Worldview of Work
Following the meta-narrative of the biblical story i.e. creation, fall, redemption and restoration, this is how I see the Gospel transforming our worldview of work:
- Creation | The Christian faith gives you a new identity at work. If you make work your identity, if you are successful, it gets to your head. If you are unsuccessful, it destroys your heart. The Christian faith reminds you of your identity in Christ – that you are God’s child! God loves you, not because of your performance, but because of Jesus’ finished work. If you know that theory in your heart, it makes high-pressure jobs bearable and even the most modest work meaningful. It also keeps success from getting to your head and failure from crushing your heart.
- Fall | The Christian faith transforms how you see the many pitfalls of work. You will understand how sin has robbed work of its joy and meaning and you will not despair when you experience the drudgery of or unfairness at work. As Keller says “Just because you cannot realize your highest aspirations in work, doesn’t mean that you have chosen wrongly, or you are not called to your profession. The Fall means, we should expect to be regularly frustrated in our work even though we may be in exactly the right vocation.” Having this perspective, strengthens you to have grit, resilience and an indomitable spirit to persevere through the discouraging days.
- Redemption | The Christian faith changes your motivation for work and your concept of work. It charges you to think of every job as working for God and your work as worship to Jesus. You see that God has ordained work as a stewardship of His created world and that work is good. It also means all work, even the most menial tasks, has intrinsic value and great dignity. In your work you are God’s hands and fingers, sustaining and caring for His world. You will also work from biblical values, ethics and principles. This means for e.g. you can stand up and take the rap for your staff’s mistakes, because you know Jesus took your sins upon Himself!
- Restoration | The Christian faith offers a sophisticated kind of hope. For the young and ambitious, you may want to change the world. Using the analogy of a painting, your goal may be to paint a whole tree. But perhaps in your lifetime, in God’s economy, all you will get to do is to paint a leaf! The Christian faith gives you a new kind of hope. It means that even though things do not change now as you want it to, you can take heart that your work in the Lord is not wasted. God will use it (and He will complete the painting, even if it is not in your lifetime).
The Gospel works on every aspect of us – at a micro level, the work of the cross is capturing and resurrecting dead hearts. At a macro level, Jesus’ atoning work is restoring and redeeming creation and making all things new. When our worldview is seen through these two vantage points positioned together, we have a glimpse of the size and weight of the Good News, the eternity-spanning wonderment of the finished work of Christ!