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Your Real Job (7 of 8)
Season of the Family
Ephesians 6:5-9; 4:25-28; Colossians 3:22-4:1
June 22, 2003
We are winding down our Season of the Family this week and next. For the six weeks between Mother's Day and Father's Day, we have explored a host of themes from the Bible's instructions about family life. The last few have come from the concluding chapters of Ephesians.
From marriage and family, the passage moves next to the topic of slaves and masters. Obviously, the world has changed a lot in two thousand years. Our society rid itself of formal slavery one hundred-forty years ago. At least on the surface, these instructions would seem to have little to say to us. But beneath these ancient lessons, I think we can find a place where these principles apply: our jobs and work.
Work, our jobs, is a big part of our lives. The average person spends nearly 100,000 hours of life on the job before retirement. Some many more. Our jobs provide our income, define our identity and can, if we are not careful, undermine the health and wellbeing of our families. Whatever we do for a living, our jobs are an important part of our lives—and therefore of our faith as well! What does this passage of scripture teach about God's will and our work?
First, the fact that this topic comes up at all in scripture is important. It means that at least to some degree God's will and our work belong together. Our secular world tends to teach us otherwise. We often try to divide life into neatly separated compartments. Our faith, spirituality, our church life goes in one pocket. Our money, work, and the rest of life go in another. This kind of thinking goes back a long ways. The medieval church placed such a priority on "religious vocations," things like being a priest, monk, or nun, that other jobs were seen as second class or disconnected from the things that matter to heaven.
This notion didn't come from the Bible. It came from the ...
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