More Than a Curse
September 1, 2019
Theme: It is easy to misunderstand the idea of work and the purpose of work. God created us for work. The original intent of creation was for humans to care for it –we are created co-creators with God. It’s easy to forget that there was work before the fall. Work is integral to being human and even part the vision of the Kingdom we see in scripture. But work is also cursed (Genesis 3:17-19) and as such can be a barrier to thriving and living a full life before God. Work can become a means to an end, it becomes soul draining, it can consume us and become our whole identity, it can distract us from the work God call us to do and inversely be a place that God has called us, it can pull us away from family and community, etc. Properly understanding our work holistically helps us see where God calls us each and every day to be faithful and be part of building of the kingdom even as we build things, count numbers, sell things, teach, etc.
Scripture: Genesis 1:26-31 (NRSV) – 26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” 27 So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” 29 God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Your Work Matters
September 8, 2019
Theme: God has created us for work, but how does our work matter in a fallen world? Christians participate in the mission of God through every activity of life that expresses God’s creativity, sustains God’s creation, and cooperates with God’s redemption. As such, any work that we do that contributes to the building up of society, caring for the poor and oppressed, helping people toward thriving all connects to the holistic vision of the Kingdom we find in scripture. It is the Shalom of God that we are working toward. As such, in so far as our work contributes to this shalom, it is part of God’s greater plan of salvation.
Scripture: Matthew 22:34-40 – 34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Vocation & Calling
September 15, 2019
Theme: How do we decide where God is calling us in our current life situation? We are all called, but how do we decide our vocation amidst our calling? God may be calling us to serve within our church or in the community, but God also calls us to particular work.Sometimes our jobs connect to how we serve and build up the kingdom while other times we find ways to serve tangibly outside of our jobs. We are not all called to be full time ministers, but we are all gifted for ministry wherever we are.
Scripture: Ephesians 4:1 – “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
The Rhythm of Work and Rest
September 22, 2019
Theme: We are called to work, but what happens when we live in a culture of “go, go, go” and “more, more, more”? What happens when work starts to feel oppressive? It is easy for Christians to also fall into the “protestant work ethic” that so permeates our culture. This is not to say that working hard is bad, but overwork and oppressive work is. We are commanded over and over again by God to have a rhythm of work and rest. When we properly understand that work is a gift from God, we can also freely accept the gift of Sabbath and taking one day a week to rest from our work.
Scripture: Exodus 20:8-11 – 8 Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 10 But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.