“God of justice, love, and mercy” are the lyrics to a song. And this God seeks to meet our needs. Jesus says in Matthew 15:32, “I have compassion for these people…” He goes on to meet the needs of the people without them even asking, which can suggest that God sees our needs and longs to do something about it.
Yet God is inviting us to a transformative life where we become compassionate people, taking initiative, and becoming responsible self-leading adults. The work of God to meet our needs is sometimes a precursor for us to learn to trust and become responsible citizens, parents, or employees.
Jesus shows us compassion so that we might be compassionate people. That’s why I’m open to border and immigration reform that attends to both the needs of the people longing for a better life, but also done in a responsible way.
It’s also why I encourage employees to take personal and professional responsibility in order to become just, loving, and merciful people. To be compassionate is to meet the needs of those hurting, to restore them to full function, so that they might become compassionate people who serve others as restored, fully functioning people.
Lord God Almighty, the One who works on our behalf, Make your face shine on us as we enter into the day’s work. Satisfy us with your loving-kindness that we might praise you as we attend to our daily tasks.
Help us not to forget that you are with us in our cubicles, office, showroom floors, and tech bays.
Help us to see how you are working on our behalf as we look through paperwork, warranties, or repair orders.
Help us to see how are work is dignified, needed, and that it makes a difference in people’s lives.
We confess that we can become arrogant and stubborn at times. We use our work knowledge as power over others. We want to see things done our way because we’ve exaggerated how much we know.
Forgive us when we misuse our power and authority over others, when we value people in higher positions over less sought after positions.
We confess that we seek to be in control because we think we know what’s best. We use others to our own gain and we ask that you forgive us.
May we turn our face towards you and be a people of hospitality and joy towards our fellow coworkers and customers. Be gracious and compassionate over us.
Restore us and make your face shine upon our work activities that we may be saved.
Here’s a resource on theology of work by the Fuller Depree Center and the Theology of Work site. It’s a series inviting us to converse about work’s biggest challenges. It covers topics like calling and work-life boundaries.
First off, I’m posting this a resource and saver for some really good stuff on business and how the church has mucked it! Working within a business environment, I see the disparity between church and the workplace. I really enjoyed reading through these posts and hope you’ll take the time to read carefully through them. Michael Kruse is summarizing a book that I’ll be using for one of my doctoral courses (at some point): “How the Church Fails Businesspeople (And What Can Be Done About It)”, by John C. Knapp. I haven’t read it yet but am really looking forward to it.
We need more ways to live our lives in public ways! We need more robust, creative theology to help us do that.
“When a recent Pew survey asked what gives Americans a sense of meaning, thirty-four percent mentioned their careers—making this the second most common answer after family. As theology scholar Jonathan Malesic writes, in the United States, finding meaning through work is a concept that has been closely associated with Christianity. But Christian theology may also offer reasons, and methods, to make work less central to our lives.”
We express our humanity and image of God-ness through work (co-creating). The Monks were creative about work and saw it as a penitential, but also looking for ways to keep the monasterary running. They also wanted to make time for communal prayer so they came up with effeciency type of tools to carve out time.
Genesis thus reveals God as a worker. Yes, God’s way of working is distinctive. Nevertheless, God works. And, as we see repeatedly in the text, God appreciates the good work God does (Gen 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31).
As part of this good work, God creates human beings as workers. This is revealed, first of all, in the fact that humankind is made in God’s “image” and “likeness” (Gen 1:26). Theologians debate the precise meanings of these fertile terms. But, in the narrative of Genesis, God’s image and likeness are closely connected to God’s working. This is confirmed by the first commandment given to God’s image bearers: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion . . .” (Gen 1:28). Notice God’s first instruction to human beings was not “Build an altar,” “Think rationally,” or even “Love the Lord.” Rather, God told the beings created in God’s own image to get to work.