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It is a good thing to work a job.  It is a good thing to put out a quality product.  It is a good thing to provide a service that is helpful to others.  It is a good thing to contribute to community and society.  “Go… get a job” is a message that is heard clearly in our culture.  This is not a bad message, in fact it is quite a practical one.  However, as Eugene Peterson has pointed out, it becomes important to connect this message with another, “Go… make disciples.”  It is essential that our work become part of our Christian experience.  In order for work to have lasting meaning, the conversation about jobs must include discipleship.

Work is a context to obey the great commission.  Without this context, we risk the danger that we will add to statistics of job dissatisfaction and loss of meaning.  We tend to place value on certain jobs, the bible does not.  We tend to hand out respect (and money, we tend to confuse respect with money) to certain jobs over others.  The bible knows that these things are fleeting.  In fact, the bible suggests that those who take on a job in order to gain respect ought to be pitied.

It becomes important to be able to talk about work in relationship to meaning and purpose.  If we are unable to see how everyday work is related to “Go… make disciples” we are either going to become discontent with our job or become careless about our faith.  We will likely be unhappy “making a living” and trying to make up for a lack of meaning with additional recreational or spiritual activities in hopes to find meaning.  That doesn’t have to be the way it works.  Nearly any job can be a context for discipleship to occur.  If we take this message seriously the present becomes filled with energy.  And the future opens up with possibility.

I think of the tax collectors and the soldiers who approach John the Baptist.  Two vocations that probably seemed outside the will of God to those in John’s congregation.   But John simply tells them to start doing their work differently.  I think of two tax collectors that encounter Jesus.  Matthew leaves his job to serve.  But Zacchaeus starts collecting taxes differently.  Prior to meeting Jesus, they both served the dominant regime.  After meeting Jesus, they both worked for another kingdom.

You can work a job that no one else would want and be smack in the middle of the will of God.  You can work the most desirable of jobs and be struggling to find a niche in the kingdom.  The kingdom appears far less interested in what you do for compensation than we do.  It is far more concerned with the way faith is demonstrated.  So, go ahead and follow through on culture’s expectation that you get a job.  But whatever you do, be sure to make disciples.

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