Lesson 1: Work Matters to God
Focal Passage: Genesis 1; Psalm 8
In this lesson, we will introduce the idea of developing a “theology of work.” The foundational principle will be centered upon the truth that work matters to God. God is the original worker. The Bible opens with God at work. He is not an idle deity. The dignity and intrinsic value of work is rooted in the fact that God has revealed Himself as one who Himself works! This lesson offers the students the opportunity to begin to think differently about work. The teacher/facilitator can lead a discussion with the class members about developing a greater appreciation for work based upon the fact that God is the original role model for all laborers.
Lesson 2: Called to Work
Focal Passage: Exodus 20; Genesis 2; Isaiah 65
Christians can make the mistake of believing that “work” is a part of the curse. In other words, some folks read the judgment of Genesis 3 and mistakenly believe that God “cursed” humanity to work for a living. This is simply not the case. God commissioned Adam to work in the Garden of Eden prior to the Fall of Mankind in Genesis 3. Work has intrinsic value and God has called humanity to work! In the 10 Commandments, God expressed the truth that human beings are supposed to labor each day except the Sabbath. In Isaiah 65, we read that work does not disappear in the life to come. The new earth will be a place where work has been restored to its rightful place and it is fitting for God’s new creation.
Lesson 3: Gifted to Work
Focal Passage: Exodus 33-40
This passage contains the story of the construction of the Tabernacle at Sinai. This great work was accomplished by skilled laborers. The various needs in the construction project were met by men who were gifted to play significant and specific roles for its completion. God has gifted all of us for His glory. This lesson is designed to assist class members in assessing their giftedness and make appropriate connections to their respective work places.
Lesson 4: Working for a Living
Focal Passage: 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12; Proverbs 6:1-11
So – why do we have to work for a living? Why can’t we all just enjoy a life of leisure and recreation? We have already learned that work has intrinsic value. We have learned that God has blessed work – and He has gifted us for it. Now we learn that working for a living helps us develop healthy independence. Making good financial decisions as we engage ourselves is also a part of maintaining this independence. We work to earn a living for ourselves – so that we are not forcing others to provide for us. This lesson is aimed at the development of a positive, healthy, personal work ethic.
Lesson 5: Working for Each Other
Focal Passage: 2 Corinthians 8-9
Experiencing a healthy independence as workers affords us the opportunity to be blessed by practicing generosity. There are always people in need all around us. We don’t work just for ourselves. There are those in our society who are in need for legitimate reasons. As Christians, we are called beyond provision for our own needs to the point of considering the authentic needs of others. If we have a healthy approach to labor ourselves, we are free to be used by God to help others.
Lesson 6: Working with Each Other
Focal Passage: 1 Corinthians 3:1-15
As Christians, we are used by God to participate in the “common good.” As we work for a living, we join the interdependent network of the broader culture to accomplish the common good. Providing goods and services to the culture serves the greater society. God uses us to create culture. We depend on each other. Paul realized that his work was dependent on the work of others to be effective. The same is true for all of us in the work force. Together, our efforts serve the common good of society.
Lesson 7: Women at Work
Focal Passage: Proverbs 31:10-31
The sermon for this week will be taken from this passage. However, there will be plenty of material left for discussion in the classroom setting from this text. Obviously, this week will be given to the exploration of topic of women in the work force. This discussion might lead to a significant prayer time for the women in your class who are working. Perhaps – a time to listen to their unique challenges and discover ways your class can support them. Also – it is an opportunity to learn to practice grace and patience because there is a wide variety of opinion on this subject.
Lesson 8: Futility of Work
Focal Passage: Ecclesiastes 2:17-26
As important as our jobs are to us, there can also be a sense of futility and emptiness associated with them. We can lose our way in the vocational journey as adults. We can allow our jobs to become our idols. We can lose balance and become workaholics (and violate the 10 Commandments – which challenge us to rest appropriately). We can be overwhelmed by the lack of accomplishment in our working life. This lesson is designed to address the challenges that work can create in our lives. It will also be an opportunity for the class members to pray and care for those who are struggling in their employment.
Lesson 9: Work as Ministry: Reaching the 9 to 5 Window
Focal Passage: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24
Jesus has called us to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). In missiological circles, we talk about the folks who live in the “10/40 Window” (the band from 10-40 degrees north of the equator). Most of the unreached peoples of the world live within that band. Many of your class members will never encounter those folks. However – your class members will encounter the people who live in the 9 to 5 window! We can be used to reach them. This lesson will bring our entire study to a conclusion. This will be a time of encouraging believers to seize the opportunities for ministry available to them both at and through their workplace .