Scripture at Work

Today’s guest post comes from Dave Jernander, one of an excellent class of students from Bethel Seminary who recently studied the intersection between faith, vocation and work.

I believe to adequately understand the concept of work we must recognize the origin of work which is recorded in Scripture, namely (Genesis 1:1-15). In regards to this Biblical passage we see that God worked in creation, and we later discover that since man is made in the image of God that, he too, must work (see Genesis 1:26-31; 2:8, 15), and after creation was complete God said, “It is very good.” However, due to the fall of man recorded in (Genesis 3) work and human relationships became perverted.

Biblical history affirms that “when God established a government for the nation of Israel He created the political realm (Kings, priests, and prophets); the business domain (farming); and the religious spectrum (Judaism). When these three entities were working in compliance with the will of God all was well in the nation of Israel; however, when rampant wickedness prevailed in the hearts of the people these separate branches of the established government led the way of corruption and the people suffered.”[1]

Looking back to Adam in the Book of Genesis we read about Adam cultivating the garden, and every generation moving forward from Adam always had plenty of work and no shortage thereof. In later centuries people were no longer working the land as the Industrial Revolution drew people away from agricultural spectrum into the industrial arena. Here we see a transfer of the ownership of work from one domain to the other: Those who worked the land owned their work and the land, now they have sold their land and have opted to work in the industrial field and those who employed them now owned the work.

The transmission of work from one entity to another has led to further decay in human relations and work in general. For example, in recent years in the United States the politicians have conspired with corporate America with the blessing of the religious right-wing to pass legislation that is beneficial to corporate America to give work to those whom they please to give it to. This has resulted in outsourcing jobs to other nations for the sake of satisfying our lust for money by paying lower wages overseas and generating significant dividends to the wealthy at the expense of the working men/women. This has divided the socio-economic classes in the nation, and caused strife between the rich, middle-class, and the poor just the same as noted above concerning the nation of Israel.

In retrospect there will never be a shortage of work in Christianity as we try to restore the ethical principles upon which this nation was founded. Ultimately, before any compelling changes may take effect in reversing this present day trend regarding the issue of work and human relations there must be a change of heart. The missing component in all of this is the essence of community; just as there is community in the Trinity there is also community in humanity as we are created in His image. This post-modern generation has its focus on individualism which states, “I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul,” and as a result we live in a me, myself, and I generation without consideration of the other. There is much to be said in reference to work and human relations: First, God has gifted all of us in certain areas to perform work (see Exodus 31:2-11). Secondly, everyone in the community benefits from our work (see Ephesians 4:28). Finally, work is a gift from God as it brings pleasure and provision through our accomplishments (see Ecclesiastes 3:12-13). Perhaps, as Christians we can start to implement change by inviting others into the community of Christ, discipling them, and leave a lasting impression in the work force by emulating Christ in our words, actions, deeds, and thoughts; and to live and work as for Him (see Colossians 3:17).



[1] David V. Jernander. Theology of Leadership & Vocation (TS 774) Critical Reading Review VII: To Serve God & Wal-Mart. 2013.


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