Author: Paul Joshua
Category: Workplace Ministry
To facilitate a truly global conversation, we ask Christian leaders from around the world to respond to the Global Conversation’s lead articles. These points of view do not necessarily represent the Lausanne Movement. They are designed to stimulate discussion from all points of the compass and from different segments of the Christian community. Please add your perspective by posting a comment so that we can learn and grow together in the unity of the Spirit.
A response to Gordon Preece, Al Miyashita & Willy Kotiuga’s article: Truth and the Workplace
Thank you to Preece, Miyashita and Kotiuga for their article which deserves to be read widely and the important issues raised therein discussed actively. While in overall agreement with the tenor and the substance of their argument, I would, if I may, like to broaden one issue that they have highlighted. They point to the divide that exists between sacred and secular as being a fundamental reason for our less than wholesome attitudes to work.
This insight could be deepened and our motivation to engage wholeheartedly in transformative work strengthened further if we consider that for many of us it is not only our attitude to work that suffers, but that our theology of salvation is also influenced by such a philosophy. We tend to treat salvation as matter of ‘pie in the sky when we die.’ The only thing worth doing therefore is the ‘saving of souls’ from hell fire and providing them a ticket to heaven, as it often described. What happens while we live on this earth is of secondary importance because what happens in the afterlife is the most significant part of our lives.
When we study the Holy Scriptures however we come to understand that salvation is not merely about getting us into heaven, though that is surely involved, but more profoundly a matter of the God of heaven reconciling us to himself, coming to indwell us so as to transform our life and the world around us, thus fulfilling his perfect desire and goal for his creation. Salvation that the Bible speaks about implicates the here and the now just as it does the life after.
One way forward therefore is to review our very idea of salvation. We need to be moulded by a thoroughly Scriptural understanding of it. We need to return to what the Holy Scriptures teach us rather than be shaped by a Platonic (or other) worldview. When we grasp the depth of what God’s desire is for his people then we will be able to grapple with the implications of it, which includes transforming our idea of life, and therefore our idea of work. Then the work we are involved will be an expression of transformed lives seeking to transform the world in the name of Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Our lives will represent a prayer that utters and actions that works toward: “may your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Honest and productive work is one way we may live out and express our discipleship to the Lord Jesus Christ. Work is one way we may ‘work’ out our salvation.
If that is so, the corporate activities we engage in our congregations will serve and equip every member for a life of discipleship, a life of sharing and serving God in and through our work.
Paul Joshua - India