False Stories of Work: It’s Just about Money

Reprinted from the Salt & Light Australia Daily Devotional.

Part five of a series.

[Jesus] is before all things, and in him all things hold together….For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Colossians 1:17, 19-20

This is part five of seven devotions dealing with some false stories about work which we might hear about, or even unconsciously absorb; as well as the better story for work that we read in the Bible, and is commended through the Gospel.

We have already done false story 1. My focus is on my leisure time, not work; 2. Work is my source of meaning and purpose; 3. Religion or faith should not be in the workplace; and 4. Work is a curse. Today we are looking at whether work is just about earning money.

This false story is similar to the first one, that work is just about leisure. It sees no intrinsic value in work, but just the extrinsic value of work, that is: a paycheck. For some, toiling way in routine, boring or difficult jobs, perhaps all the good of work feels like it has been stripped away. I remember my son saying his greatest fear in entering the workforce was becoming a “wage slave.”

I saw one meme in the context of a job interview. The interviewer asks the applicant the classic question: “Why do you want this job?” She replies: “D’Oh, because I have bills to pay!” By the way, very honest, but not a good response! 

While much of the world struggles to find the work to earn sufficient funds for survival, we who are privileged usually want more out of our work than simply money.

The reading from Colossians tells a better story for our work. Verse 15 tells us that Jesus is sovereign over the whole world, including our workplaces, and verses 17-20 tell us that Jesus is seeking to reconcile all things on heaven and earth through his blood.

Frequently I think we shrink redemption to our individual souls being saved to go to heaven when we die. However, the Colossians reading broadens our understanding of what God is doing through Jesus. Redemption is about healing the separation between us and God, us and other people, us and creation. Redemption extends to the workplace, and we can be agents of reconciliation there.

This means that our work can be part of that reconciliation process: holding back evil, promoting good, and giving people a glimpse of the kingdom. So, work is much more than just about earning money.

Think It Through
How much do you see this false story lived out around you? Do you sometimes live out that false story in your own life? What difference does it make knowing that you can be an agent of reconciliation through your work and in your workplace? What could you do?

We know that you are sovereign over all the earth. 
All things were created through you and for you, and in you all things, visible and invisible, hold together. 
We know that God is seeking to reconcile to himself all things on earth and in heaven through you. 
Lord, redeemer of all, we commit ourselves as your people to go into all the earth to proclaim that you are king of kings and lord of lords.
We want to join in the renewal of this earth, and the banishment of sin and its consequences.
Help us to bring harmony and flourishing back to your good creation through our working. 
Help us to heal, liberate, transform, reconcile, unite and proclaim the power of Christ in words and action.
We do this for your glory.

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Kara Martin is the author of Workship: How to Use Your Work to Worship God, and Workship 2: How to Flourish at Work. She is also a lecturer with Mary Andrews College. Kara has worked in media and communications, human resources, business analysis and policy development roles, in a variety of organizations, and as a consultant. Kara has a particular passion for integrating our Christian faith and work, and helping churches connect with the workers in their congregations. She is currently conducting research on how to effectively equip workplace Christians to integrate their faith and work.

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