How do our professional lives relate to our discipleship? For some believers, the concept of discipleship seems somewhat disconnected from everyday life. Perhaps this is because many of the sermons we hear each week tend to primarily link stewardship with financial giving or time invested in ministry, worship services, and Bible study groups.
But almost everyone who isn’t in a professional ministry position only spends a small fraction of their week engaged in these things. What about the time we spend working in our homes and at our places of employment each week?
In an episode of the Table Podcast, Dr. Greg Forster shares a more holistic view of discipleship and stewardship, focusing on the satisfaction of both material needs and spiritual needs.
He suggests that equating work merely with the resulting paycheck represents a materialistic view of work, which “focuses on the tangible at the expense of the intangible.” That is, although supporting ourselves and our families is an important mandate, a biblical view of work doesn’t end with the financial aspect of our labors. Forster explains:
“While supporting your household is important, you want to support your household by doing good honest work that makes the world a better place… all the pieces fit together very nicely and people can build a life that's meaningful and satisfies not only their material needs, but their spiritual needs, which are deeper and which the church is supposed to be especially concerned about.”
Indeed, our professional work ultimately serves human needs. Understanding this can bring meaning and fulfillment to our employment, and a realization that our work represents more than a paycheck. He illustrates this with an example from the auto industry.
Someone in the auto industry who does his or her factory job can focus on the spiritual dimension of the job by realizing that, ultimately:
“What I'm doing is making safer cars, and because the cars are safer, customers are willing to pay more for them and that's why I get paid to do this…[but] the biggest significance of what I'm doing is making the world a better place by making cars safer.”
It’s important for us as a church to demonstrate that discipleship and stewardship are related to largest portion of our lives: Our time spent working at home and in our professions. Indeed, we are stewards both in our homes and places of employment, making the world a better place though our labors as part of our holistic discipleship to Christ.
Watch the complete episode here: A Biblical View of Stewardship.