In the last week or so I’ve spent some time with an artist, in a Community Group discussing the ethical challenges of a member working on the UK’s nuclear deterrent, and with students looking for motivation and purpose to their studies.
What can we say?
We live in a culture that argues for faith to be expressed in private, but who could maintain interest in a faith that says nothing to most of life… and in any case, we’re all shaped by the things we believe about life, whatever our outlook on life.
The Christian story is one in which humanity works not as insignificant parts of a machine but as a movement to form and fill, to cultivate and civilise every part of this world.
The beginnings of an answer might say at least…
Firstly, work matters. The Christian faith says it’s good to work. With a few limits, it’s good to do the work in front of us. Work, paid or unpaid, in home, workplace or commuity, isn’t to be an inconvenience or a hassle but is the ordinary stuff of life. In a fallen world this may be hard and present tensions and difficulties which we can’t resolve, but it’s what we’re here to do.
Ask: What is in front of me to do?
Secondly, growing matters. The Christian faith claims that the whole world is shaped to be formed and filled, it is a work unfinished – and that includes us. It’s good to stretch ourselves, to be formed as people and participants in society… though it’s tempting to not bother or to pursue my own greatness instead of the good of others.
Ask: What could I learn to do?
Thirdly, ability matters. The Christian faith commends our abilities as gifts. Do what you can do! We all have limits in life that mean we can’t do all we might have wanted to do… and might not want to do what we can.
Ask: What can I do? What can’t I do?
Fourth, interest matters. The Christian faith argues for a meaningful, colourful, fascinating world. What interests me may not interest others. And if I’m not interested, can I learn to love it and see its value?
Ask: What do I love? What can I learn to love?
In following Jesus there’s frequent need to repent – to turn from serving myself to know him and serve others. Why should my work be off limits for that?