In the first talk, Goodness of Work, from the Work As Worship series I explained from the Bible how work is inherently good not only for its instrumental purpose: building and cultivating society and providing for love ones, but also because we get to imitate God as his image bearers.
I also examined how in the history of work, we have made two major distortions away from the biblical vision of work. The first is the Catholic distortion with the sacred and secular divide, which views 'secular' work as separate to Christian work. The second is the modern distortion, which is the secularisation of work by removing God from our work and self identity altogether, so that work has become the primary means by which we find meaning and purpose in life.
Click here, to listen to talk on the Goodness of Work.
For further reading on the two distortions of work, I have provided the following additional resources from a mix of Christian and non-Christian sources.
The History of Work
The School of Life publishes media content on a variety of ideas from the humanities and has produced a video that gives an overview of the historical development of work, from how work has gone from something people only did for money to being the source of ultimate meaning and identity. It traces the Greek philosophers, the Renaissance period, the Protestant Reformation and the subsequent modern developments.
The Catholic Distortion - Sacred and Secular Divide
Paul Grimmond is a senior staff member at Campus Bible Study. In his article for Matthias Media, Paul shows from the Bible that there is no divide between 'secular work' and 'gospel work'. Paul also shows that the Reformation doctrine of vocation was about more than just a job and that our 'calling' is first and foremost to live wholly to Jesus in all areas of life in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.
The Modern Distortion - "Do What You Love"
Miya Tokumitsu is an art historian and author of Do What You Love: And Other Lies About Success and Happiness. In her article for Jocabin Magazine, she argues that the modern distortion of the "Do What You Love" (DWYL) work mantra, that is embraced by the elites and aspired by all, actually devalues work and hurts workers. Like the Catholic distortion, DWYL also creates a dualism, but between those who love their jobs and those who don't love their jobs.
I hope you find these extra resources helpful. I will be posting more additional resources connected to each talk every week in our Work As Worship series. You are welcome join us this Sunday as we explore the Problem of Work. We'd love to meet you!
Pastor Michael Nhieu