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2931 Murphy Street

A Biblically Integrated View of Work

There are several ways of developing a biblical approach to work. One is to do a concordance study of the word. Another is a creed-based approach in terms of God as Creator, Reconciler and Re-Creator—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Here I will identify broad perspectives and principles that can help us place work within a scriptural framework of relationships—to God, humanity and the earth (Wright, pp. 89-90, 100).

God’s work. The God of the Bible is a worker, in contrast to the ancient Near Eastern gods, who slept while their human slaves labored. Sadly, many of us forget that before we get up on Monday morning, God has already been at work: “He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:4). Jesus said, “My Father is still working, and I also am working” (John 5:17). The Sabbath is a reminder that we live by God’s work, not our own (Genesis 2:3; Matthew 11:28; Hebrews 4).

Exploring the wide-ranging biblical imagery of divine work can give us a greater sense of being junior partners in God’s work of creation, preservation and redemption.    

By seeing our work in the light of God’s work, we can see God’s hand in our everyday tasks. Unless we do so, we will underestimate the importance of God’s work and either worship our work or think it worthless. But work can be an expression of worship or communion with God. It should not be confused with or replace our corporate worship, but it is an everyday offering of our whole selves, bodies and minds, to God (Romans 12:1-2). “Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not to men and women” (Ephesians. 6:7).

Human work and human relationships.

  1. Work is not only to provide for ourselves (2 Thessalonians . 3:10-13)      
  2. and our families (1 Tim. 5:8)                                                                                                    
  3.  but also “to have something to share with the needy” (Ephes. 4:28 NRSV).

So work is one of the basic ways we fulfill our social responsibilities. Many things we make at work also provide the stage in which people can interact, for example, telephones and furniture. Making hand-held video games largely does not. From a biblical view one question we can ask of our work is whether it furthers relationships or not.

While we should distinguish ourselves from what we do, we should not divorce the two. Being and doing flow into each other. A mother working in a shop does not stop being a mother while she is at work. Her homegrown experiences and skills are valuable (even if unrecognized) in her paid employment, and her experience on the job will be reflected at home.

The author of Ecclesiastes provides a balance between being and doing by emphasizing relationships. He has a word of warning for both the envious workaholic and the lazy shirkaholic who neglect relationships and lead meaningless lives. The alternative is that “two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. . . . A threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Eccles. 4:9-12 NRSV). So, after communion with God “community building is every person’s second full-time job”

The same writer provides a commentary on the fallen or cursed dimension of work or toil (see also Genesis 3:17-19). Work done out of mere ambition and selfishness and work neglected out of laziness are both vain. Even work with good motives will often be ignored or wasted. We all die, and our work will not last; it is transient. While we have opportunity, we should simply enjoy working, as well as the food and drink it puts on the table, as a gift from God. It is best to have modest expectations of work and not try to build lasting monuments (Eccles. 2:18-26)

Our groaning as we toil is part of creation’s groaning, longing for liberation from the vanity to which it was subjected by God in hope (Romans 8:20-23). But under the risen Son, work done for God and others are not in vain, even if society may not value it. In the new heavens and new earth “my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain” (Isaiah 65:22-23 NRSV). “Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).

Caring for the earth. According to Genesis 1:28 (NRSV), as those made in God’s image, we are to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.” This is balanced by the direction in Genesis 2:15, in which Adam is to till and keep the garden, or serve and preserve it. This has not only agricultural but also cultural dimensions, as Adam’s naming the animals shows. As God’s representatives we are to care for the earth (see Ecology) and each other in the productive realm of work and the reproductive realm of family. Women are involved in both realms. The wise woman of Proverbs 31 is involved in providing food, land and clothing, planting vines, trading and caring for the poor. Her work was publicly recognized, bringing her praise in the city gates (Proverbs 31:10-31). This needs to be heard in a world in which women are often paid less in jobs and work a second shift at home and in which many people receive no recognition for unpaid work done well.

In the divine economy, work is evaluated according to the way it fosters or retards relationships—between ourselves and God, our companions and the earthly resources we are called to develop.

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Saint Augustine Missionary Baptist Church
2931 Murphy Street | Shreveport, LA 71103 | Phone: 318 221-2306 
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The Upcoming Church Events2018:

January 2018

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday -- January 14, 2018

(Actual Date: January 15, 2018)

Church Council Meeting -- January 27,  2018  at 10:00 a.m.

Youth and Children Leadership in Action -- January 28, 20178  at 11:00 a.m.

Re-Dedication of Workers -- January 14, 2018  at 12:30 p.m.

February 2018

Black History Celebration -- Month of February 2018

Church Council Meeting -- February 24, 2018 at 10:00 a.m.

Youth and Children Leadership in Action -- February 25, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.

March 2018

Loyalty Day -- March 11, 2018  at 2:30 p.m.

Palm Sunday -- March 20,  2018

Youth/Children Revival -- March 21 - 23, 2018  at 7:00 p.m. each evening

Good Friday -- March 30, 2018

Church Council Meeting -- March 31, 2018 

(The Lord's Supper will be served) During the Ressurection Worship

Youth and Children Leadership in Action -- March 27, 2017 at 6:30 a.m. ??

April 2018

Easter/Resurrection Sunday (Sunrise Services)  -- April 1, 2018 at 6:00 a.m.

Senior Citizen Recognition Day -- April 8, 2018  at 12:30 a.m.

Senior Mission's Anniversary -- April 10, 2018  (Tuesday)  at 7:00 p.m.

Church Council Meeting -- April 28, 2018  (Saturday) at 10:00 a.m.

Youth and Children Leadership in Action -- April 29, 2018  at 11:00 a.m.

Pastor's Aide Fellowship  -- April 29, 2018 at  2:30 p.m.

May 2018

Mother's Day Recognition -- May 13, 2018

Women's Day Fellowship -- May  20, 2018  at 2:30 p.m.

Youth and Children Leadership in Action -- May 27, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.

Church Council Meeting -- May 26, 2018   (Saturday) at 10:00 a.m.

June 2018

Annual Church Luncheon -- June 10,  2018  at 2:00 p.m. (Optional)

VBS --  Monday thru Friday -- June 11 - 15, 2018 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

VBS Fellowship -- June 16, 2018  10:00 a.m.  (Optional)

Father's Day Recognition -- June 17, 2018

Church Council Meeting -- June 30, 2018   (Saturday) at 10:00 a.m.

Youth and Children Leadership in Action -- June 24, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.

Men's Day Program Fellowship  -- June 24, 2018  at 2:30 p.m.

July 2018

Annual Choir Musical Fellowship -- July 15, 2018  at 2:30 p.m.

Church Council Meeting -- July 28, 2018  (Saturday) at 10:00 a.m.

Youth and Children Leadeship in Action -- July 22, 2018  at 11:00 a.m.

Pastor's Aide Program Fellowship -- July 29, 2018  at 2:30 p.m.

August 2018

Church Council Meeting -- August 25, 2018  (Saturday) at 10:00 a.m.

Church Anniversary, Family and Friends Day Fellowship -- August 20, 2017 at 2:30 p.m.

Youth and Children Leadership in Action -- August 26, 2018  at 11:00 a.m.

September 2018

Grandparents Recognition Day -- September 9, 2018

Senior Mission's State and Bench Rally Fellowship -- (Tuesday)  September 11, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.

Annual Useher's Day Fellowship -- September 16, 2018  at 2:30 p.m.

Night Sunday School -- Thursday_September 20, 2018  at 7:00 p.m.

Youth and Children Leadership In Action -- September 23, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.

Youth and Children Round-Up Fellowship -- September 23, 2018 at 2:30 p.m.

Church Council Meeting -- September 29, 2018  (Saturday) at 10:00 a.m.

October 2018

Annual Fall Revival -- October 24 - 26, 2018  at 7:00 p.m. each evening

Church Council Meeting -- October 27, 2018  (Saturday) at 10:00 a.m.

Youth and Children Leadership In Action -- October 28, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.

Annual Musician's Appreciation Day Fellowship -- October 28, 2018  at 2:30 p.m.

November 2018

Annual Church Anniversary/Homecoming/Family and Friends Fellowship Day -- November 11, 2018 at 2:30 p.m.

Feeding of the Needy -- November 17, 2018  at 9:00 a.m.

Thanksgiving Day -- November 22, 2018

Church Council Meeting -- November 22, 2018  (Saturday) at 10:00 a.m.

Youth and Children Leadership in Action -- November 25, 2018  at 11:00 a.m.

December 2018

Deacon's Anniversary Fellowship -- December 9, 2018  at 2:30 p.m

Youth and Children Leadership in Action -- December 23, 2018  at 11:00 a.m.

Christmas Day Fellowship -- December 23, 2018

Acutal Christmas Day -- December 25, 2018 -- (Tuesday)