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16 Jan '12

The most neglected topic in the church

Posted by T.J. Addington in evangelicalism, preaching, theology, work
No, it is not sex, money or death. It is the workplace where most of us spend the bulk of our time and potentially have our greatest influence. When was the last time you heard a message on work and its relationship to faith, or even an illustration connecting a text to the workplace in a serious way? 


What is sad about this is that the calling to the various places where we work is just that - a calling. Our work is sacred and it is where God has placed us for a purpose - to infuse that place with His presence through us. Just as sacred as the job of missionaries I lead or pastors I work with. We are all sent people and the workplace is for many of us our primary mission field. In neglecting the primary calling of perhaps the majority of our people we are doing them a huge disservice and a disservice to the One who called them. 


I don't believe the workplace is neglected on purpose but out of ignorance. Many pastors have never truly experienced the pressures, stresses and issues that those they preach to each week experience on their jobs. And those pressures have only increased in the past twenty years. 


There are ways to press into this for pastors. First, consider a periodic round table discussion with those from various walks of life and simply talk about the issues they face on the job. Take those issues and apply them to your preaching. Second, consider shadowing someone from your church periodically to live for a day in their world. Third, think deeply about the calling that everyone in the workplace has to their vocation. We lift up those who choose full time service. We need to lift up those who live out their faith in the typical workplace.


Work is sacred. Calling is universal. We need to recognize this and help people live out that sacred calling. But first we need to understand their context. Work matters to God.