Another weekend, another… retreat? I’ll be honest reader, I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to the “Faith, Work, and Cultural Renewal” retreat that happened this past weekend. However, as tends to happen with all serendipitous circumstances, I was hit with awe-inspiring, earth shattering gospel truth.
The evening started off with check in at the front desk and a gathering in the sanctuary for some quick news and notes about the event. After those were completed the main speaker, David Kim, got up and addressed the eager crowd.
He began talking about the meaning of work and how our careers and jobs reflect the work of God. Yes, in one sense, it does mean a spiritual “God is seen through my work”, but what struck me the most was Pastor Kim compared it to God’s actual work. Reading through the passage of creation in Genesis 1 we see how God’s creation is not only a reflection of his beauty, but it is an expression of his nature. In essence, through God’s work of creation we can see bits of his character. I’ll be honest reader, I was floored by this idea; not because of its implications on who God is, but of its implications on our lives as believers. Pastor Kim summarized this point when he stated “We cannot love our work, because it cannot love us back”.
As a relatively new entrant into the professional scene I’ve noticed this trend a lot in both my time at work, as well as in conversations with my co-workers. There seems to be a lack of love and energy in the workplace which leaves it looking like a seemingly dry environment. Its like a relationship between two people. The first person is incredibly invested in the relationship, and is determined to do any and all things required to see it succeed. The other, however, is purely in it for the affirmation and benefits of a relationship. One gives, and the other takes with absolutely no reciprocation. Does that seem draining to you? It certainly does to me, both draining and pointless. This is how many people, even me and many points during my week, engage with and experience work. This begs the question: If this is how we work, and it seems so tiring should we not work to alleviate the problem? Um no. Obviously we should work, and the Bible does call us to work, so really the question we should actually be asking is how should we work.
I don’t have time to break down David’s talk in its entirety, but some of the main answers to the “how” question were found in Ephesians 4. Pastor Kim discussed how our work should be an expression and not a definition of our pursuit of Christ. He also talked about how happiness comes with being thankful for what we’ve received through the gospel, and how that satisfaction in the gospel is the anchor that holds us firm in a relatively unsatisfied world. Ultimately, the answer to the “how” question is to image God’s process when he worked. I don’t mean literally, but instead working and creating with the purpose of expressing the joy and fulfillment that our faith is anchored in.
These talks, and the internal dialogue that they have led to, have helped to refine the question of: Why am I in the Twin Cities this summer? Part of that answer is to work, but the question of how I want to work has its answer.