Short talk by Tim Vickers on witness in the workplace looking at 1 Peter as a way to understand how we can "live such good lives among non-believers" and "always be ready to give a reason for the hope we have". How do these two ideas help us as witnesses to Jesus in our workplaces?
So the Bible says work is a gift from God, a means by which we can seek to glorify him and by which we can hope to draw others to him. Nonetheless, it is a gift that is cursed and under that curse it often fails to provide the satisfaction or creative opportunity which we crave as human beings. This is so different from the popular view of work as something to be avoided, a painful addiction, or just a means to satisfying material lust. As Christians, the Bible gives us a radically different agenda with which to view our life’s occupations.
Things happen when we pray – sometimes very quickly, sometimes slowly – but things happen. God, after all, yearns that human beings would come to know him. The Holy Spirit is at work – where he wills – drawing people to Christ, to the glory of the Father. Why would your co-workers be exempt? Why wouldn’t God want to use you to help them along their way?
Life after university can present a number of tough challenges, such as moving to a new location or dealing with (short-term) unemployment. No matter what lies ahead, God remains faithful to us and uses all circumstances to transform us into the image of Christ.
Over the years I have seen many great things done by Christian friends in their places of work. Sadly I have also seen numerous other Christian friends turn their backs on Jesus. What exactly are the issues at stake here? How can we take steps to ensure that we and our friends are those who not only continue to walk on with Jesus, but who live their lives wholeheartedly for him?
But there’s a fine line between gratitude to God for what we have, and pride in the things we have which others don’t. On a macro scale, we feel compassion for those in the world who genuinely appear to have little. On a micro scale, it’s easy for us to feel pleased with ourselves if we have that little bit more than our immediate neighbours. Isn’t there a secret pleasure in feeling slightly superior to someone else?
One of the things I hear most frequently, when I talk to older people about their faith and its place at work, is the lament: “Oh I wish I’d spoken up for what I believed earlier!” or “I wish I’d done more for Christ earlier in my life.” You will never hear an older Christian reflect on their life and say “I wish I’d done less for Jesus.”
First the bad news. Then some more bad news. And then some good news.
The way we work today is corroding our culture and killing our relationships. This is ‘bad’ but if you’re in work it’s probably not news. The indicators have been going downhill for years.
“Can't you find out God's will for you life and stick to it?” After four degrees in a variety of disciplines, five different full-time jobs, and at least two career changes this is probably a valid question to ask me. Is it right that my constantly changing career path is an indication that I have found it difficult to know the will of God for my life? The answer is both yes and no!
I have a confession to make.
Perhaps not a confession of the kind of titillating misdemeanour or behavioural idiosyncrasy that our glorious media may have led you to expect from public confessions... So don’t expect to see the pictures of me cavorting along an Italian beach naked as a tomato at the age of 3. And as for the letters that reveal that I had a girlfriend thirty years before I was married and that we once held hands, well, the girl in question won’t even admit she ever knew me, never mind sell the letters to The Sun... No, this confession may expose me to greater ignominy...
I’ve started to develop a cordial relationship with an estate agent.
The critical question is how to move from the Biblical materials of both the Old and New Testaments to principles for economic life [which we termed Derivative Social Principles or DSPs] that can be utilised in current economic analysis and issues. The immediate problem is that the economies of Biblical times bear very little relation to the advanced economies of the world that we observe now.
The goodness of creation: Genesis 1, 2
Creation is distinct from, but dependent upon, God: Genesis 1: 1, Psalm 33: 6-9, Psalm 65: 9-13.
Creation de-divinized (compare Psalm 19: 1-6)
Creation exists to the glory and praise of God: Psalms 145: 10, 21, 150: 6
‘Interactions with others (social and economic) should be relational, in the sense of empathy with the good of the other party’
‘Attitudes to others should be motivated by love (grace, service), not personal gain.’
Value of Human Life:
- Humans have been made with purpose which includes work (Genesis 1: 26-28, Psalm 139:13-16)
- Human life is valuable and one way it can be valued is through anticipated labour (expected productivity) (Leviticus 27)
Lending and borrowing are key activities in any economic system. The Bible emphasises these transactions which demonstrates that they matter to God, and have been important throughout time. This was the case before complex lending and borrowing such as mortgages, 'sale and lease-back', or hedge fund securities lending. Indeed, lending and borrowing are more pivotal to the balance of wealth in society than one might assume.
Lending and borrowing are commonplace across the world. The Bible has much to say about these activities, relevant to the household level and also across production, trade and economics. Lending and borrowing underpin much of the global economy, and are increasingly more prevalent than outright purchases or sales.
The biblical system is radically different, as illustrated by Leviticus 25, which puts the themes of lending and borrowing in context, with the example of the year of Jubilee.
All wealth ultimately belongs to God – we are always stewards, never owners. The existence of poverty is the result of our individual and collective brokenness, not God’s failure to provide. Greed (the accumulation of wealth for selfish purposes) damages society and fails to deliver contentment. God’s people, individually and collectively, are to respond to his grace by giving and sharing all they have.
All wealth comes from God ultimately belongs to him – we are always stewards, never owners. Greed (the accumulation of wealth for selfish purposes) damages society and fails to deliver contentment. The existence of poverty is the result of our individual and collective brokenness, not God’s failure to provide. God’s people, individually and collectively, are to respond to his grace by giving and sharing all they have.
The theological context for Derivative Social Principles (DSPs) arises out of the Biblical understanding of the relationships between God, the natural (created) order, and humanity. God created the natural order and sustains it. He also created humanity (man and woman) in his own image and likeness for relationship with him. Humanity is given ‘dominion’ or rule over the natural order, to work with it and to care for it, and so provide for human flourishing (food, clothing, shelter, social interaction).