A recent Wall Street Journal article provides a good follow-up to last week's post. The article, Idle Hands: Some Puritan Advice for the Unemployed, appeared November 19:
“…the Puritans... had a view of work in which God looms large. [They] believed that all of life, including their work, was God's, and, as such, infused with purpose and meaning…
...Martin Luther, in his doctrine of vocation, taught that God gave each individual an occupational ‘calling.’ Man's vocation was not seen as impersonal and random, but as from a loving and personal God who bestowed each individual with natural talents and desires for a particular occupation...
…17th-century tradition held that sacred occupations (like priest or monk) trumped secular ones (like farming or blacksmithing). The Puritans, however, rejected such a distinction. Holding to 'Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might' (Ecclesiastes 9:10), the Puritans sanctified the common, believing that all work, however lowly, if done for the glory of God, was good…The farmer's plow became his altar, his tilling an act of service to God every bit as holy and valuable as the priest's….
Now, I’m not suggesting the Puritans did everything right. Nor is the WSJ article suggesting that. But the Puritan view of work was biblically motivated, and this is what interests me most.
“Biblicity” (did I just invent a new word?) is what allowed Jonathan Edwards, and his forerunners, Luther and Calvin, to view work in a profoundly remarkable way.
Last week I asked if "worklife discipleship" could be restored. I think it can. But to get there, I believe we have to re-learn how to view our work in the context of a comprehensive biblical worldview and an explicit theology of work.
This begs the question, "What is a biblical worldview and a theology of work?"
I'll fill that in as we go along. But for now, I'd just like to say that when you see your work in the context of a biblical worldview and a theology of work, as Luther, Calvin, and Edwards did, your work (no matter what kind of work it may be) takes on previously unimaginable significance.
In fact, seeing your work in the context of a biblical worldview and a theology of work allows you to bring meaning to your work as the work of God.
To be continued.
For the full Wall Street Journal article by Amy Henry, see http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704431804574541403268485712.html#articleTabs%3Darticle