The journey of integrating faith, work, and economics could be quite an adventure. Along the way, we’ll meet new ideas that could shake things up a bit. For one, ever heard of the “Four-Chapter Gospel”? Many of us having been living with a “Two-Chapter Gospel” – and the implications of the shift are pretty significant.
Our journey will involve taking an in-depth look at the topic of work throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Many Christians hone in on the implications of the New Testament but miss out on the rich meaning of work derived from the larger meta-narrative of God’s work throughout history – past, present, and future.
Christians must also understand the principle of all work as calling and that we are to live our lives in the light of that truth. As we look at the history of work as experienced by the Church during the last 2000 years, it’s easy to see how we have wandered so far from this reality. As a result, many have a hard time making sense of their lives outside of church on Sunday, Bible studies, and mission trips.
If properly understood, the Biblical doctrine of work can help us as Christians bring a new sense of purpose to our lives and, through our work, radically impact our culture.
Understand Work and Christian Calling, Understand Economics
We will discuss these fundamental aspects of the Biblical doctrine of work here on the IFWE blog and in our research. From that basis, we will weave in a discussion of economics, seeing how our own calling in work and the world of economics are inexorably intertwined. Here are some of the key themes we’ll be addressing along the way:
- The “Four-Chapter Gospel” vs. the “Two-Chapter Gospel”
- Uniquely Created in the Image of God
- The Cultural Mandate
- Work after the Fall: Scarcity
- Calling and Comparative Advantage
- Economic Freedom: The Road to Flourishing
- Caring for the Poor
- God’s Kingdom
As faith, work, and economics begin to align, many will see for the first time that we have a serious stake in the economic environment in which we live and work. We will see that we as citizens must cherish and sustain an economic environment that provides us the freedom to flourish in our work for the good of others and the glory of God.
Our goal at IFWE is that you understand the richness of the meaning of work, live out how you were designed with creativity, and find great purpose in what you do, whether it’s paid or volunteer work. We want you to be able to think Biblically and wisely about how best to steward your work and by so doing, benefit and transform the world around you.
In our strained economy, we are all daily reminded of both our personal need and the call to care for those around us. We pray this journey we take together will equip you to channel your passion to love your neighbor in the most effective way possible. In the words of Martin Luther, one of the best ways to do this is through your own work.
Short of Christ’s return and reign on earth, we will find that there is no economic proposal that can bring about the utopia that some today are promising. The good news is that economics gives us a tool as Christians to manage the hard fact that we no longer live in the Garden of Eden and there is scarcity. It also provides us an avenue, through our work, to reflect and declare the reality of Christ’s coming Kingdom, in which there will be abundance and shalom.
Question: What does it look like to love your neighbor by doing your job well? Leave a comment.
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