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.
“God is Creator of the world, and our work mirrors his creative work when we create culture that conforms to his will and vision for human beings—when it matches up with the biblical story line. Yet theologians speak not only of God’s creation but also of his providence. God does not simply create; he also loves, cares for, and nurtures his creation. He feeds and protects all he has made. But how does his providential care reach us? As we have seen . . . especially in the teaching of Martin Luther, God’s loving care comes to us largely through the labor of others. Work is a major instrument of God’s providence; it is how he sustains the human world.”
– Timothy Keller with Katherine Leary Alsdorf, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work, Penguin Group, 2012, p. 184
1 Corinthians 3:1-15
Our theology informs us concerning the universality of sin. The Bible is clear in revealing that sin has permeated every sector of our society. The effects of sin are evident on every hand. Our world is marred by broken relationships, faulty motives, inadequate perspectives and selfish behaviors. Our workplaces are often where this brokenness is most easily displayed. As Christians we have a unique opportunity to be messengers of peace to our colleagues. We can work with others to help bring shalom (peace) to our communities. We learn at work to be interdependent. Our united efforts can be a powerful force of restoration and reconciliation.
WEEKLY READINGS OVERVIEW
We don’t work in isolation. The farmer grows the crop. The Cooperative collects the crops and sells them. The transportation industry delivers the crops. Various entities prepare the crops for consumption. The transportation industry delivers the finished produce to the grocers. The grocers sell to the consumers. There is interdependence in the marketplace. We learn the value of working together and trusting each other to accomplish something greater than is possible on our own. As Christians, we can participate with others to bring peace and blessing to our cities and communities. How is God using your efforts in His ministry of reconciliation? How is His shalom (peace) flowing through you and your work?
ISSUES/QUESTIONS TO ADDRESS
1. God’s providence – how does this doctrine affect our Theology of Work?
2. The common good – this concept is rooted in what theologians refer to as “common grace.” Christians and non-Christians are the beneficiaries of common grace. Today’s lesson allows you to address how Christians and non-Christians can work together for the common good of all people.
3. Interdependence – this is a concept to be embraced by followers of Jesus. How does our healthy independence help us to be more usefully interdependent?