By Susan Fikse, byFaith
Mike Rowe apprenticed at hundreds of the most reviled jobs in America as host of “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery Channel — he milked camels, picked up roadkill, castrated sheep, lashed down crab pots, and slithered through sewers. He found that those employed in such jobs are the happiest, most balanced people he’s ever met. Yet, our culture marginalizes and devalues most manual and skilled labor. More than that, Rowe says, “We’ve declared war on work, as a society, all of us. … What’s really being said? Your life would be better if you could work a little less, if you didn’t have to work so hard, if you could get home a little earlier, if you could retire a little faster, if you could punch out a little sooner.”
The church, at times, has unwittingly contributed to this diminished regard for work. And some people have formed the impression that whether they assemble computer chips or analyze spreadsheets, their work is irrelevant to many churches — except to the extent that they earn enough to fill the offering plate. By perpetuating a secular/sacred divide that elevates the “spiritual” work of Sunday over the “secular” work of the rest of the week, the church has, on occasion, reinforced a view that God doesn’t care about our work. As a result, many Christians are “working for the weekend” like most of their colleagues.
As Mike Rowe launches a public relations campaign for work, the church is joining the cause in its own way. A movement within the church is spotlighting the centrality of work and promoting a Gospel-centered view of work as integral to our Christian faith.
Nonprofits, think tanks, churches, and networks are revisiting ancient worldviews to recover a more robust conception of work.
Related articles: How Do We Love a Broken World?: Our Conversation with Steve Garber
Watch Katherine Alsdorf unpack three reasons why your church should make a major commitment to faith and work ministry regardless of the its size at the 2014 National Gathering of the Fellowship Community and ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. Alsdorf is the founder and executive director of Redeemer’s Center for Faith & Work. Katherine also assisted Tim Keller in the writing of Every Good Endeavor.