If someone said to you, “My friend, Joe, is doing the Lord’s work,” what work would come to your mind?
Most people would imagine Joe is a pastor or a missionary. Maybe a doctor, if Joe is practicing his medicine overseas among the poor, with nothing in return, that is.
But if Jonathan Edwards were alive today, I dare say Edwards would ask: “In what line of work? The aerospace industry? Farming? Retail sales?”
Yet, we no longer put those kinds of jobs in the category of "the Lord's work."
In Paul Stevens’ excellent book, The Other Six Days, he writes: “What is needed is a comprehensive biblical foundation for the Christian’s life in the world as well as the church, a theology for homemakers, nurses and doctors, plumbers, stockbrokers, politicians and farmers. Recovering this, as Gibbs and Morton said decades ago, would be like discovering a new continent or finding a new element.”
There’s that idea again: recovering.
I expect Stevens says “recovering this..." because he knows people such as Jonathan Edwards would have taken it for granted that God does His work through carpenters, cops and CEOs.
To limit “the Lord’s work” to the work of a pastor, a missionary, or a volunteer doctor in Africa would have been off the radar.
Am I saying "Joe the carpenter" can be doing the work of God by pounding nails?
That’s exactly what I’m saying.
And I am not talking about Joe volunteering his carpentry skills to build homes for needy families in Mexico, as commendable as that is.
I am talking about Joe pounding nails for the XYZ Construction Company from 7:00am until 4:00pm, Monday through Friday, while building a new house down the street in your neighborhood.
How can this work be the work of God?
Well, if Joe puts his work with the XYZ Construction Company into the context of a biblical worldview that sees every nail and 2x4 as belonging to God (Ps. 24:1), and every swing of the hammer as a response to The First Commission to "rule over all the earth" (Gen. 1:26-28), then it starts to make sense.
But there's more to how Joe's work for XYZ Construction can be the work of God.
In the meantime, please view the new video of the month. It is Paul Stevens again, this time speaking about "ministry" and the work of the Lord: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bkm89trY9zM