The Bible also talks about the importance of our work on society. That can be our immediately family:
If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Tim 5:8
Or it can be wider society:
He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Eph 4:28
By our work we produce something that society can share. Society is a web of relationships where people can share things together, and care for one another. Sharing does not imply giving something away for free. Money is a way of ordering our sharing. This gives us another way to think about our work. Our work allows us to share God’s good gifts with others so that we promote communities where people care for one another. This also gives us a good way to judge our work. How much does it promote sharing within a society that cares for others? Some jobs may not directly lead to sharing, but set the framework for which others can care for each other. Garbage removal is a great example.
It also gives us criteria where work might be declared bad. If work is pointless, then that would be bad work. If work harms or destroys caring communities, that would be bad work. So as we evaluate our work we can see how it fits into promoting sharing in caring communities. This is something important for Christians to do, so that they can bring their Christian worldview with all its insights to bear on their work. Christian thinking has much to offer our workplaces. It is also an important task for managers to help their employees see how their work contributes to sharing in caring communities. There’s a truck load of thinking to be done in our churches as we consider how we work and where it fits in.
But this has not exhausted the Bibles categories of work. There is still one other, which we’ll look at in part 4…