Working in God’s World: Graduate Refresher

by EU GradsFund

Work in God’s world is complex, because it’s a good part of a good creation that has been frustrated for the sake of God’s greater purposes of salvation and redemption (of all things, even work). So doing your work well is commendable. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”. (Colossians 3:23)

Martin Luther points out, “God himself will milk the cows through him whose vocation that is. He who engages in the lowliness of his work performs God’s work, be he lad or king. To give one’s office proper care is not selfishness. Devotion to office is devotion to love, because it is by God’s own ordering that the work of the office is always dedicated to the well-being of one’s neighbor. Care for one’s office is, in its very frame of reference on earth, participation in God’s own care for human beings”. (Luther on Vocation by Gustaf Wingren 1942)

What practical things flow from this complexity?

  1. You’re never going to find the perfect job!
  2. Every job that you will ever have will have parts that you don’t enjoy.
  3. You can love your neighbour by doing your job with proper care.
  4. You can’t save your neighbour by just doing your job with proper care.

You can flourish as a worker. Try out a few of these things and read Proverbs.

  1. Think relationally. Remember that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit eternally in relationship and relationships are a foundational reality.
  2. You’re more than just a worker! You have many relational contexts and responsibilities, so don’t focus on one to the exclusion of the others.
  3. Spend time with your family. You could contribute to your family finances, but there is no substitute for spending time and sharing yourself with your family.
  4. Your workplace is a micro-society with its own relational responsibilities. Consider how you contribute beyond your obligations and job description. For example, starting a running club or taking up a volunteering opportunity.
  5. Apply your Christian mind to work. You have entered a ‘whole new world’ with an entirely different plausibility structure with conflicting values. Chat with your Christian brothers and sisters about your workplace.
  6. You’re not a student! Be very intentional about how you make the transition from a student church member to a worker church member.
  7. Make up a budget. Think of a budget as a story expressing your values and future hopes – God willing. Only it’s written on a spreadsheet.

David Steele

EU Senior Staffworker