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.”
“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!
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.
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).
First, by putting too much weight on 'earning' (and preparing for retirement) as one of the purposes of work, the risk is to fail to hear God's calling for us. This pressure to earn precludes many possibilities of work for God's kingdom. Not that 'work for God's kingdom' does not mean only being a missionary or a church worker: the banker, butcher, and brewer can also work for God's kingdom, so long as in doing that they are primarily motivated by God's kingdom.
In the contemporary world, political ideas often develop into ideologies, or "isms", such as capitalism, liberalism, socialism or communism etc. The economy is often at the centre of these "isms", as they often revolve around the question of individual vs. common ownership and access to means of production.
Political ideas often develop into ideologies, or "isms", such as capitalism, liberalism, socialism or communism. The economy is often at the centre of these "isms", including questions of individual vs. common ownership, markets vs. state driven economy etc. The illusion that a perfect economic system can be created has always been around. However, no human system will entirely root out evil, sin and greed.
Righteousness (s-d-q, or sedeq) and justice (mishpat).
Righteousness ‘describes the relationship that God wills for human beings to have with him through faith… and that human beings are to express through loving obedience’ to the norms (that is, principles of conduct in personal interactions) he commands and sets. These are based on God’s word – he not only created the world, he also orders it.
The Bible has a rather specific and multifaceted understanding of justice. The Biblical idea of justice is deeply relational, and it extends into economic relationships. Righteousness (s-d-q, or sedeq) and justice (mishpat) are central Hebrew terms in this context. Righteousness ‘describes the relationship that God wills for human beings to have with him through faith… and that human beings are to express through loving obedience’ to the norms (that is, principles of conduct in personal interactions) he commands and sets. These are based on God’s word – he not only created the world, he also orders it.
Creation unfolds dynamically in time. Events occur whose outcome is not known to us in advance. We have control over some of these events and not over others. Here there is ‘risk’ in a technical sense of probability theory (whether objective or subjective). However, for our ethical analysis we are interested in a more colloquial sense of ‘risk’ that matters more to most human beings:
...for our ethical analysis we are interested in a more colloquial sense of ‘risk’ that matters more to most human beings: the possibility (or, more evocatively, threat) of a negative outcome. This implies a value judgement as to which outcomes are ‘negative’. We take ‘negative’ to imply loss experienced by a given person, of something they desire, whether of something already possessed, or only expected/hoped for. Conversely, that misdirected desires can be a cause of unnecessary (felt) risk exposure.