Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Wholism 301

Last week I suggested that the “glory and honor of the kings of the earth” that will be brought into the New Jerusalem [Revelation 21] might be products of human culture, made by Earth-Rulers. Frankly, this is not a theological hill I'm going to die on. 

Yet even if nothing produced by human hands were to survive the melting heat mentioned in II Peter 3, this should not make a difference in our attitude toward creating culture in this fallen, temporal world.  That’s because it’s God’s world, even in its fallen condition. It’s God’s creation we’re surrounded by, and it's God's stuff we're taking into our hands when we form and shape anything. 

Image-Bearers are to engage in ruling over matter even if what we create doesn’t survive past Wednesday. A good chef creates works of culinary art that don’t usually last more than a day. This glorifies God innately, because a good meal is an outworking of the chef’s image-bearing likeness as “Creator in Miniature,” ruling well over salmon, rice pilaf and blue cheese. In this act of imitation God is glorified, and chefs fulfill their God-designed glory and honor: to rule well over God's stuff. (Check out Psalm 8.)
Earth-Rulers fulfill God’s purpose for their own creation when they mow the lawn. Cut hair. Fix an automobile. Or negotiate the sale of a house. We fulfill God’s purpose for our creation when we create good legislation, or write something worth reading, or bake a loaf of bread. It's all God's stuff, and it's our God-given glory and honor to govern well over it. And in this imitation, He is glorified.  

I have a definition of “work” taped to the top of my computer monitor that goes like this: “Work worth doing is any expenditure of energy, mental or physical, for pay or not, that rightly manages God’s stuff, and employs my God-given abilities to benefit others, or prepares me to do so.”
This definition covers a lot of ground. In fact, it covers the whole of God’s creation. It includes all legitimate forms of royal work done by Earth-Rulers. Making cars, light bulbs and computers. Building roads, skyscrapers and furniture. Playing the piano. Washing clothes. Feeding the kids...and the dog. Ruling well over matter. All to the glory of God. Today.

That’s wholism 301.
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  1. The Hebrew word for 'work' in Genesis 3:15 is 'avodah', which is also the word for 'worship' elsewhere in the Old Testmant.

    The 'hill' you mention may not be worth dying on, but it is one certainly worth climbing!

  2. I'm reading your book "Assumptions..." and it's been a real eye-opener; particularly the chapter titled "Why the Hebrews were poor philosophers." As a Christian wife and mother (who is also homeschooling with a biblical worldview), I have been struggling w/the judgmental "secular vs sacred" messages my family receives from some of our brothers and sisters in Christ. My daughter, who does figure skating, is sometimes treated as "not as holy" as other girls who have more "sacred" pursuits. Same for my husband who works for a (not to be named) software company. Yet I am pleased with both of them in how they live out their faith in all they do. I purchased your book "God's Pleasure at Work" and look forward to reading it as a family.

    Could it be that many, many seemingly "Biblical" Christians are unknowingly enslaved by man's thinking (and legalism)?


    1. I see that is the very thing that we need to die to - self.

  3. This definitely encourages me in all my earthly work, especially the less glamorous! Also gives me more to encourage my students to do their best in their spelling, penmanship, etc! And, what an exciting thought that the glory and honor of kings would be used in the New Jerusalem!
    -Rachel Keeney

  4. Great to hear from you Rachel. I trust all is going well for you in Oklahoma!