I first came across the word “wholistic” (spelled with a “w”) through the work of Darrow Miller, the author I recommended last week, who wrote the exceptional book, LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day. The “correct” way of spelling “holistic,” of course, is without the “w.” The word “wholistic” will show up as a misspelled word in your computer spellcheck. But I really like the link between the word “whole” and the word “wholistic,” because the word “whole” carries a powerful message. The word “whole” has everything to do with one’s ability to bring extraordinary meaning to ordinary, everyday work.
One of the great keys for bringing meaning to everyday work
(and one of the truly great motivators behind practical Christianity in
general), is the ability to “connect the dots.” By that I mean, the ability
to see how the lifting of a shovel, the pressing of plastic on a keyboard, and
the turning of a taxi steering wheel, all connect to something much bigger.
Taking a “wholistic” approach to our everyday work involves seeing how what we do directly connects with the bigger picture of God’s purpose for creating people,
and His purpose for creating things, including the material, temporal
things that surround us on a daily basis. It’s all His stuff.
A wholistic view allows no unholy bifurcation between our
life in this present world and our life in the world to come. A follower of
Christ with a wholistic view will see both the physical and the spiritual, the
temporal and the eternal, as equally part of God’s domain. Both the spider and the angel are equally His. Christ sustains it
all (Col. 1:16-17), by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3), whether it’s in the
here and now, or in the world to come. He does this for His purpose and His glory,
whether in heaven or on earth, whether now or in the future. It is this sort of wholistic
theology that allowed George Swinnock, the seventeenth century Puritan
English Pastor, to say, “The pious
tradesman will know that his shop as well as his chapel is holy ground.”
Yet this theology of work is rarely on the minds of
Christians in the workplace today. The problem, Miller maintains, can be traced
to what he calls, “Evangelical Gnosticism."
Evangelical Gnosticism? I'll share what Miller means next week.