procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

the wisdom of work

doing a series on proverbs at church atm.
the first week was an intro (1-9), 2 weeks ago was wine, last week i was on with work, as well as the next two weeks with wedlock and then words.
i stole the titles from st albans lindfield when we did these a while ago (you may remember me posting thoughts from my intro talk)

i've really found ethics helpful this year, and we spent a bit of time thinking about work, so it was nice to try and put it all together

my basic outline:
i] what is work?
ii] we need wisdom to guide us through work
iii] Proverbs is not the end of the story - Jesus redeems work

i] tried to show that work is part of creation, that even though tarnished by sin and cursed by God, it's not devoid of good. there's usually both good and bad in all work, and what's good one day can be toilsome the next.

ii] talked through three areas where proverbs is particularly vocal:
  1. honesty
    The balance and scales must be just according to the Lord;
    he concerns himself with the weights of the pouch.
    Prov. 16.11
  2. the way you work
    here i talked about the two poles - the sluggard on the one hand
    The sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
    it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth.
    Prov. 26.15
    - and the wicked, on the other, who i tried to show were not dissimilar to the workaholic.
    10 My son, if sinners entice you,
    do not consent 11 If they say,
    “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood;
    let us ambush the innocent without reason;"
    18 these men lie in wait for their own blood;
    they set an ambush for their own lives.
    19 Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain;
    it takes away the life of its possessors.
    Prov. 1.10-19
    what proverbs advises is therefore contentment, such that we can pray this prayer with Jesus in the Lord's prayer:
    Two things I ask of you;
    deny them not to me before I die:
    Falsehood and lies keep far from me;
    give me neither poverty nor riches,
    but give me only my daily bread.
    lest I be full and deny you
    and say, “Who is the LORD?”
    or lest I be poor and steal
    and profane the name of my God.
    Prov. 30.7-9
  3. generosity
    Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD,
    and he will repay him for his deed.
    Prov. 19.17
iii] Proverbs is not the end of the story - Jesus redeems work.   yet even saying this, we need to recognise the deep fallen-ness of so much work, where people are forced into demeaning jobs, where people are unable to find work, where physical or mental illness or disability deny people the opportunities to work, and others are in pointless, purpose-less jobs. thankfully we can see how even in jobs that seem close to pointless, these areas of work have value
  1. Creation
    this is stuff like subduing and having dominion. like mothers changing nappies, people building engineers, weeding
  2. Community
    keeping society functioning. IT, accountants, all these sort of things which seem quite pointless in any eternal sense are hence given purpose
  3. Gospel
i finished off talking about Luther, his idea of vocation (Beruf), that we are called by God into his service - thus making all of life holy, be it changing nappies, applying for jobs, plucking chickens, taking out the rubbish.

therefore we can understand why Luther, even if Jesus were coming back tomorrow, would still plant an apple tree today.

and that was it.
i wanted to talk about the idea of rest, and how that fits in. but no time.

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