Why Should We Work?
Religion & Liberty Online

Why Should We Work?

Why do we go to work, day after day, year after year for most of our lives? Sure, we most of us have to “make a living?” But is that our only motivation? Is there a better reason why we should work? Matthew Kaemingk thinks so:

Above each of these partial reasons for work, I would like to propose an alternative motivation that should qualify, define, limit, and rule them all. This reason is simple but not narrow. It is focused on a single object, and yet it can inspire the diverse work of a pastor and a social worker, a poet and a judge, a stock broker and a mother, a policeman and an activist. This reason is as old as time, but it can be reimagined and reappropriated every morning. This reason honors the eternal importance of work but refuses to romanticize it. This reason has no Scriptural qualification or experiential limit. There is no way to “overdo it.”

This reason for work cannot become a god to us, because it is God. The ultimate reason for human work is, quite simply, God.

Human beings were created to worship and glorify God in everything they do, including their work. The whole of Scripture is shot through with this overwhelmingly clear and simple message.

For many today, the idea of “glorifying God” conjures up spiritual and celestial images of choirs, endless singing, and harp playing. The idea of glorifying God through the earthy banality of excel spreadsheets, grade reports, open houses, and power lunches is difficult for many Christian professionals to imagine. Because of our dogmatic divisions between sacred and secular, spiritual and mundane, we seem to lack the theological imagination to conceive of a way in which God can be glorified through our daily work.

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Joe Carter

Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).