Caste System in Church (3): Churches Need To Talk About Work

Last week I started on this series on “Caste System In Church.” Let’s continue talking about it this week regarding its problems and we’ll try to find some answers.

My church’s pastor told me last week that he just had a conversation with some people from the church I mentioned earlier. Their meeting was about Sunday School classes. He learned that their Sunday School classes were all exclusively classes about studying different books of the Bible. When my pastor encouraged them to diversify their classes and also talk about marketplace spirituality, they felt uneasy. Then my pastor blurted out, “If a Christian spend most of his/her time in the workplace, how can you ignore that in your teaching and discipleship?”

He’s absolutely right. Rightfully so, a church must teach the Bible, but sometimes if you do it to the point where you’re afraid of broaching “worldly” subjects and just restrict yourself to so-called “spiritual” and “biblical” matters, we end up (a) limiting God and (b) distorting the purpose of the church. By (a), I mean we’ve limited God from caring and influencing our everyday behavior outside of church. And by (b), I mean we’ve limited church to a “religious vendor” where people “go” to receive a religious fix. And it seems the message is that our everyday life, our work, is meaningless unless your main goal is to evangelize your co-workers.

But the Bible teaches otherwise. It teaches that our lives are meaningful when we glorify God and willingly submit to God as our King and our Lord, and we can do this in our work, in our home, in our church, everywhere. And regarding work, the Bible teaches people to be diligent and not laggards, it urges us to be fair and honest in our work, and through our work we should administer justice and mercy, and we are to serve our masters just as we serve the Lord. God is indeed not only interested in our work, but how well we live our faith is to be seen through our work. Also, through our redeemed attitudes in work, we are to bring God’s blessings to the world.

Bernard Moon wrote at the InsideWork blog: “Work is not just a means to an end. It’s not about where the support comes from, or how we can sustain ourselves so we can do “God’s work.” It’s how many of us live our lives…How we work to glorify God — not just because of our jobs but in our jobs. I don’t think there’s anything second class about that.”

The church’s role, instead of being “vending religion,” should be “sending people” out to the world so the kingdom of God can be reign in our work lives. Preachers need to stop making it sound like people should come out of the workplace and enter “religious profession.” Churches should not omit the teaching about workplace spirituality and thereby limit God, but they should preach the full teachings of the Bible and empower and educate Christians about the values and virtues of work.

Recommended additional reading:
InsideWork: Christian Advertisement Says Your Work Has No Meaning

Caste System in Church (1): Do We Care About Souls?
Caste System in Church (2): False Dichotomy
Caste System in Church (3): Churches Need To Talk About Work
Caste System in Church (4): The Goal Of God’s Ministry

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