When you meet someone for the first time, it usually doesn’t take long before one of you asks the other, “So, what kind of work do you do?” Often work takes up so much space in our lives that the way we understand ourselves and others is connected to how we make a living. While we know there are many problems with the ways different kinds of work are valued and the ways different kinds of workers are treated, work itself is not the enemy. Work is good. And since our members spend so much of their time working, shouldn’t the church have something to say to them about doing good work?

If you’ve ever worked with an exceptionally talented tradesperson who was determined to do quality work — like a carpenter, a painter or a plumber — you know how wonderful the end result is. When the carpenter takes extra time to sandpaper a sharp corner to make sure the wood feels good to the touch, we all benefit from their desire to do good work.

This isn’t just about being punctual and not abusing company perks. This is about approaching our work with a sense of vocation: “What has God called me to do here? Who has God called me to be here?” The response to these questions is rooted in our faith.

Many centuries ago, a young girl named Esther was elevated to the royal throne in Persia. It turns out she was in the right place at the right time to do good work. It’s the church’s job to help people reflect on what they do, where they do it and what God has called them to do in their work. How will your church help people do good work?

Resources

From manufacturing widgets to perfecting cucumber salad, let’s reconsider productivity

We need to recognize the value of taking time for creativity, collaboration and relationships.

By Victoria Atkinson White

Called to be a voice of clarity

The editor-at-large of The 19th*, a newly launched national magazine about gender, politics and policy, speaks about her faith and her call to be a journalist.

Q&A with Errin Haines

Working better by working together

Leadership based on collaboration benefits everyone involved. And the work improves, too.

By Alaina Kleinbeck

Administration is a Christian vocation

It’s easy to see how teaching, scholarship, preaching, counseling and other activities are the work of ministry. But it may be harder to understand how being an administrator in a Christian institution is also the work of the gospel.

Q&A with Donald Senior

‘The end’: How do the practices and tenets of Christian faith help us see God’s purpose in our daily lives?

In this curriculum set of four visual poems with accompanying lesson plans and resources, we will reflect on four aspects of Christian theology — baptism, communion, our identity in Christ and the incarnation — as means of exploring God’s transformative work in our lives.

It’s time to honor the hard work of raising children

The church should be at the vanguard of a much-needed revolution in caretaking and the raising of children, says a young mother of four. We own the groundwork, the history and the theology of care.

By Andrea Palpant Dilley


Before you go…

I believe the work we do and the way we work can be a beautiful gift that glorifies God. According to Genesis, God did good work for six days and then God rested. God created the heavenly bodies, formed the land and brought plant and animal life into existence. Then God formed human beings in God’s image. God looked at God’s work and declared it was very good (Genesis 1:31).

In the New Testament, Jesus once told the disciples, “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work” (John 9:4). Each and every day, our people are doing the work – driving buses, raising children, teaching students, doing surgery and serving customers. Let’s help them envision how faith informs what they do and how they do it so they can do good work.

You can always reach out to me and the Alban Weekly team at alban@duke.edu. Until next week, keep leading!

Prince Rivers

Editor, Alban at Duke Divinity

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