Work. For many this word brings to mind frustration, weariness, disillusionment, and the like. But as Tom Nelson explains in his book Work Matters, “work” does not have to be a “four-letter word.” Rather, God’s design for vocation enables us to see the significance of work in the Christian life and also allows us to receive work as a good gift.
Nelson expresses concern that many Christians live compartmentalized lives in which they simply do not know how to connect “Sunday worship to Monday work.” The chief burden of Work Matters is to show that “work has intrinsic value in itself and is to be an act of worship” (60) and that “the doctrine of vocation properly understood weaves together a seamless life of true Christian discipleship in all facets of life” (189).
A BIBLICAL THEOLOGY OF WORK
The first four chapters of the book explore the theme of work across the major divisions of the redemptive storyline of Scripture: creation, fall, redemption, and new creation. Chapter 1 explores the notion of work in God’s original created order, especially in relation to our being made in God’s image. As image-bearers of God we are designed to image a working God. Nelson reminds his readers that being a “do-nothing couch potato…is actually repulsive and dehumanizing” (20). The reason, of course, is that the God whose image we bear is a creator, “a worker…not some cosmic do-nothing deity” (22).
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