INTRODUCTION TO THE THEOLOGY OF WORK CONCEPTS AND APPRECIATION
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
MY MINISTRY, MY WORK
- Ministry for the purpose of this seminar is rendering services . This services is through the works of your hands, your professions. We are all ministers , servants first before any title.
- Apostle Paul who was one of the greatest addressed himself as servant of the lord Jesus Christ, in another instance he addressed himself as a minister of the gospel.
Philippians 1:1. Paul and g, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
- When we make it to heaven the lord will welcome each one of us as faithful servant and not with a title. Mathew 25
- Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:
- Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
- And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
- Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
- Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
- And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
- For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
- Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
- That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
The Apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors and teachers RESPONSIBILITY is to teach the saints, so that the saints/ believers does the work of the ministry and we are all ministers in our various fields/callings
- And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it.
2 Corinthians 4:1
Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; The ministry comes with mercy and the power of endurance so we don’t faint. And what you do is your ministry.
- Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
- He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
- Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
- But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
The ministry enables the mercy of God upon the believer, the mercy made no provision for fainting,but it increases and renew the strength, increases the ability to wait upon the lord.
The ministry you have received from the lord is wrapped up in the different gifts, talents, skills, abilities , callings and potentials to cultivate Gods creation here on earth as stewards of the mysteries of the kingdom of God.
Power given unto him, that even such mighty words are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter? The son of Mary, the brother of James and jones, and Judah, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him
Jesus gave gifts to his body for the work of ministry . Ministry is giving services to humanity, meeting a need for Gods people. What you do is the ministry and a calling . Apostle Paul said my God shall supply all our need according to his riches through christ.
- But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 12:27-31
- Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
- And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
- Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
- Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
- But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
WORK DEFINITION: Work is not easy to define. But popularly accepted definition by Williams Perkins is “work is energy expended purposefully, manually or mentally or both, whether or not it is remunerated, the worker finds joy, the neighbors benefits and God is glorified ”
This is a Christian’s perspective of work, which is often called good works. For every good work, the work must bring glory to God and serves one neighbor. When you work, you are fulfilling a higher calling.
Genesis :1-3, 26-28, 2:15
WHAT IS THE WORK OF GOD
Work as simple as the name sounds is fundamental to human advancement and wellness. The Bible from the book of Genesis reveals our God as a worker. We saw Him worked for six(6) days and rested from His work of creation on the seventh day.God worked and He is still working: Creating, sustaining, redemming ,transforming and consummating.
THE COMMAND TO WORK
- It is important to understand that the command to work was given before the fall and therefore work was meant to be a blessing and not a curse.
- Toil, bad work and the idolatry of work are the result of the fall
- We understand also that some work are driven by selfish ambition for wealth, power or money g Tower of Babel But work is not sinful
- In fact the determination of God to redeem work and workers starts in the Garden of Eden and continues throughout the whole biblical history up-till date.
- Remember the whole creation waits for the manifestation of sons of God for their deliverance.
11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
2 Thessalonians 3:9-12
9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensemble unto you to follow us.
10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
We have 168 hours in a week, of this we spend approximately 21 hours of 3hours each everyday in church. So what happens to the remaining 146 hours??? If it is not in a gainfully work then , you are in trouble.
God loving care comes to us largely through the labor of others. Work is a major instrument of Gods providence. it is how he sustains the human world.
When we do theology we are not merely repeating Scripture but engaging the timeless Word of God and the contemporary culture/situation at the same time. Doing theology is an ellipse, with two foci: the timeless Word of God and the contemporary situation.
Therefore doing a theology of work as with other dimensions of theology is a continuous process. Doing Theology (including Spiritual Theology), we engage with the timeless Word of God in the Contemporary world situations.
How do you look at work? Is it as a means of generating income, having a fat bank account or as a calling, a mission and a mandate? Learn more and better about work in the called4work institute courses.
Theology Of Work
- William Perkins, defines theology as “the science of living blessedly forever”
Theology of work is a subset of theology enabling us to make sense of work, working in the light of God’s purpose and work forever.
Why a Theology of Work?
- It brings meaning to that portion of a person’s life that occupies most of his or her waking hours; it is central rather than peripheral.
- It is essential for putting work in its place, neither one’s god (the centre of one’s meaning) nor simply a curse.
- It is critical for the liberation of the whole people of God for their full-time service in the world since the church is a rhythm of gathering and dispersion.
- It is critical for understanding the mission of the whole people of God since the workplace is where most people “live” and is generally not accessible to professional missionaries.
- Scripture indicates that the deeds of Christian follow them and there will be work in the new heaven and new earth. Since work is not merely a transitory and temporary part of our humanity we need to understand work and our own work to be fully human.
FACTS ABOUT WORK
- There are two things you must know about work. You are either working or sleeping, obeying God or disobeying God
- Work is thought, work is a source of joy, and work can develop the potential of creation within man and improve human ability to worship God
- Work did not come as a result of sin committed by Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Work has always been blessed before sin came in to the man. Hence work is always a blessing and not a curse
- Work is spiritual and not secular, it is an integral part of a man’s life and all human being. All over the earth human being do one form of work or the other.
- When you work, you are engaging in a spiritual exercise, because Everyman takes his spirit, soul and body to work
- Work is non religious,non tribalistic, non partisan, non denominational, or gender base. The truth about work is that it response to those who recognizes it and understand it’s importance.
- Every man finds an expression through the work of his hands. Most often the work you do gives you identity.
- No one work is better than another. In the eyes of God , faithfulness in whatsoever you do makes a lot difference, so long as God is glorified and your neighbor is served or benefited .
- People see work from different perspective but God sees work as a means of worship, fulfilling mandates and his commandments. We worship God through our work.
- Work is good. It is intrinsically good, which means work is good in itself. Work is extrinsically good, which means work is good for what it produces and what it leads to.
- Work reveals the potentials, creativity,innovation and uniqueness in man to stewarding God’s creation.
- Some work lasts only for few minutes, others last for a generation, while others last for eternity.
- The Bible is a book by workers, about workers and for workers
- Genesis opens with God at work. He is still working ( John 5:17) contrary to the saying that after six days God finished his work and is now resting eternally.
- The work of God is creating , sustaining , transforming and consummating.
- Some work harms the neighborhood, its products destroys the environment and do violence to the worker.
- Work reveals the idols of the heart
- God’s loving care comes to us largely through the labor of others.
- Work is a major instrument of Gods providence, it is how he sustains the human world
- Work is ageless. It does not have age disparity , a small baby work, youth work, adult work and the aged also work.
- On retirement, work does not have retirement age.
THEOLOGY OF WORK AND OFFERING
Offering to the lord is very important and a part necessary for every believer. When you are offering unto the lord it must the best of what you have and not what you don’t have, a substance worthy to the lord.
First offering Gen.4:3-5
Right from the old statement days till now men have been offering to the lord worthy substances.
The psalmist was flabbergasted by the blessings of God and didn’t know what to do asked himself Psalms 116:12
He said I will not offer unto the lord what will not cost me anything 2Samuel 24:24
Solomon offer to the lord sacrifice 1kings 3:1-5
You don’t offer unto the lord nothing but it has always been something you offer to him
- You Offer to the lord yourselves Romans 12:1
- You offer to the lord quality praise and worship Hebrew 13:15
- You offer to the lord substance, the fruit or works of your hands
- You offer to the lord your time
- You offer to the lord thanks giving Lev.7:12-15
- Offer to the lord prayers Heb 5:7
We have often limited the calling of God to the church ministry, but calling in the larger picture is more than the church calling, the church calling is a subset of the larger picture.It is a call into making impact in the world through our various professions.
When God Calls
- When God called Adam in Genesis, it was merely a call to work, but the calling has three dimensions: To commune with God, keep the garden, to build community-male & female he made them; and to co-create with God. This is the covenant mandate.
This are all the reasons God called us, and the calling is to work .Every work on the earth came as a result of the potential of creation (co-create) with God. These works comes by the things we do or make- tools, the culture we build, communications, beauty, home making, music, transport, toys, accounting, machines, images, health, garden, research & meaning.
A renowned apostle of calling in our time Michael Novak said “ No two people have exactly the same calling. That is why we need to mull over many examples if we are trying to apply them to ourselves. None will ever quite fit; some may suggest useful clues, and some may leave us cold”
VOCATION/CALLING IS THE EMPOWERING INVITATION OF GOD TO MANKIND THROUGH THE VARIOUS PROFESSIONS TO PARTICIPATE IN GODS GRAND PLAN TO SATISFY GODS WILL, CONTINUE IN GODS WORK OF CREATION, RENEWING EVERYTHING, LIVE GODS WAYS AND MEETING THE NEEDS OF GODS PEOPLE ON THE EARTH.
The calling has three segments majorly: the invitation, the learning of purpose and the execution of the intent. For every calling, it’s a call to fulfill an assignment. It’s very important I clear the ground on the often mention called of people into ministry.
- And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.
- And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,
- And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: in the great commission assignment
- And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
- Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
- Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Religious folks will say but this is not to work or a call to professions. Now listen, the same Jesus Christ saying to the same disciples
- Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
The History of Israel, shows how God in creation mandate called people who were working to function in services to God and mankind.
- Abraham wasn’t idle when God called him to leave his father and town to lead Israelites to Canaan.
Gen 13:2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver and in gold. Abram was wealthy, a cattle rearer. In our day he will be shepherd or cow dealer.
- Elisha that later became a prophet was a great farmer, farming was his profession
I kings 19:19-21
So he departed thence, and found Elisha the Son of shapai, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth : and Elijah passed by him and cast his mantle upon him.
- Amos who was neither a prophet nor a son of prophet, but a herdsman and a gatherer of sycamore fruit was called to follow the Lord as he followed the flock became a temple prophet to Israel.
Then answered Amos and said to Amaziah I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdsman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit.
And the Lord took me as I followed the flocks, and the Lord said into me, go prophecy unto my people Israel.
- Joseph that was a shepherd boy, a messenger, an errand boy was called to stand before pharaoh and became a prime minster in Egypt.
And Israel said unto Joseph. Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, here am I.
- Daniel who later became the Babylonian government official was deported to Babylon at year 16 as a slave, a captive. God called him out while working with the government gave him a prophetic mouth to the Jews and Gentile world.
Daniel became excellent after receiving 3yrs training in the best of Babylon’s school (1:5). His support determined the heartbeat of Nebuchadnezzar.
- Esther an orphan, was also a slave, divinely became a queen in Sushan, a heathen kingdom. But God used her to facilitate the deliverance of the Jews from Haman.
This list continues. God continued to call people from all works of life to serve him through their various offices or work.
In the redemption mandate, Jesus the giver of the Redemption mandate called workers from different sectors. We may not know the professions of all his disciples but scripture shows Jesus did not call lazy and idle people into the ministry. Several of his disciples came into the ministry with their professions.
- Matthew was a tax collector, well known in Capernaum for the Roman government but Jesus called him to become a disciple ( Mark 2:14 )
And as he passed by, he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, follow me and he arose and followed Him.
- Peter, Andrew, John and James sons of Zebedee were all successful fishermen, they had fishing company. Jesus met them in their places of work and called them to follow him. ( Matthew 4:18-22 )
- Luke was a gentile physician, well known doctor but Jesus called him to come and follow him ( 4:14)
Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.
- Mark was a successful business man in Jerusalem. In fact after the first missionary journey with Apostle Paul and Barnabas his cousin, he returned to his business.
- Apostle Paul was a great lawyer and a tent maker at his time, Jesus met him in that profession called him to follow. Apostle Pual laid down a pattern and secret for his disciples on how he used the same trade to financially empowered himself and supports the need of the converts that were with him .( Acts 18:1-3, 20:33-36 )
- It is Lydia’s handicraft that beared witness to her love for Jesus Christ that people persuaded Jesus to raise her up from death. ( Acts 19) her good works were vividly displayed.
- Pricilla and Aquila were tentmakers business men and women and are also great preachers and disciplers of Apollos ( Acts 18:24-28 )
The list continues. Jesus himself was a very good carpenter. He reached out to many people by carpentry profession ( Mark 6:3, Matthew 13:55) Philip Wv in Hong Kong verified a research which shows that people who have identified and practice their calling find satisfaction in their work. Infact Jesus was known more as a carpenter than as a preacher.
HOPE FOR OUR WORK
Work is primarily designed to fulfill both creation and redemptive mandate of God. It’s a continuation of Gods work here on earth, to meet the needs of his creature. Something went wrong with this purpose. We continue to do the different kinds of work we want and in the best work environment, the broken nature of work seems overwhelming. You begin to ask is there hope for work? How can we put work right? How do we look past the deep problems and realize Gods purpose and plan? Called4work Institute, Abuja attempt to answer all these questions.
3 MAJOR TYPES OF CALLINGS
- THE GENERAL CALLING: God called us by name to serve him and to his purpose, both to the church and the world ( 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, 2 Timothy 1:9, Ephesians 4:1)
- THE SPECIFIC CALLING: God called us to do specific assignments or specific tasks ( 1 Corinthians 12:28-31)
- THE FIVE FOLD MINISTRY: The church or body of christ ministry calling : the prophet, apostles, pastor, evangelist and teachers. ( Ephesians 4:11fff)