What is a “Christian” understanding of work?

every good endeavor

I’m reading Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller (WTS | Amazon) at the moment and it’s such a refreshing look at the concept of work. As he works to provide readers with a healthy, biblical theology of work and its “very goodness” from the beginning of creation, he reminds us that work is “one of the ways we discover who we are, because it is through work that we come to understand our distinct abilities and gifts, a major component in our identities” (p. 38).

So author Dorothy Sayers could write, “What is the Christian understanding of work?. . . [It] is that work is not, primarily, a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do. It is, or it should be, the full expression of the worker’s faculties . . the medium in which he offers himself to God.”

In other words, a Christian understanding of work leads you to see your work as an act of worship.

How might our weeks look different if we grasped that concept? That rather than being a drudgery or a necessary evil, work is one of our chief expressions of worship and imaging our Creator?

I suspect many of us would find we might better be able to see the unique gifts and abilities God has given us at play in our daily routine, because we’d have a reason to exercise them with greater intensity.

We might even learn to like our jobs a little more, if for no other reason than because they offer us a chance to become more and more like our Creator and Redeemer.

What’s your view of work? Do you see it as a necessary evil or something you get to do?

  • Amber

    If you’re ever in the mood to read some fiction again, you could read Dorothy L. Sayers’ Gaudy Night, her mystery novel in which the main theme is work and intellectual integrity in work. She tries to answer the question: what kind of work ought we to do, and in that work, what is the priority – intellectual integrity or other more practical life matters? It’s not a typical mystery, but it’s my favorite of her novels.