The extraordinary worth of what you do everyday

I have just read Paul Rude’s post ‘Do truck drivers matter to God‘ over at The Gospel Coalition blog and would urge you to read it too. He helpfully tackles the issue of whether the work we do everyday really matters to God and addresses the tacit Christian dualism, not uncommon in many churches, that suggests full-time Christian ministry is of inherent worth to God whilst secular employment, by contrast, is of little or no value.

It is not at all uncommon to hear of those who have left secular employment to answer the “higher calling” of full-time Christian ministry. The very use of this phrase, “higher calling”, often belies the view that God especially values ministry work because it deals with eternal matters of the soul and, by contrast, attaches little or no value to the temporal things of everyday life. As Rude notes, ‘the implied ranking of our [secular] vocations is obvious’.

Rude comments:

Audiences will sometimes affirm the speaker’s decision to leap “from success to significance” by offering up an “Amen!” or “Hallelujah!” They may even give the speaker a stirring round of applause. But what’s the truck driver—the one quietly sitting nine pews back, third from the left—feeling at that moment? And the godly accountant, engineer, retail associate, bank manager, and all the other people who will get up early the next morning and bend their backs at jobs just like the one the speaker renounced—what must they all feel at that moment?

The answer to Rude’s question is clear: such comments are guilt inducing and unhelpful. For some, it leads to concerns that they have missed their life’s calling. For others, it leads to an inherent sense of worthlessness as they continue in a job to which, they believe, God attaches no value. For many, it leads to the idea that we are only serving God when engaged in somewhat unspecified but always overtly “Christian” activities. On this view, secular employment becomes nothing but a barrier to serving God and committed Christians are typically those who leave behind such worldly constraints and give their life over to full-time Christian ministry.

In tackling this line of thinking, Rude’s comments are incredibly helpful. He says the following:

The truth is stunning. The truth is that the regular, everyday, earthly work of a Christian’s life possesses breathtaking significance bestowed by the touch of God’s magnificent glory. God pulls the white-hot ingot of eternity from the forging fire of his sovereignty. Then, like master to apprentice, he entrusts the hammer to our hands (Eccl. 9:10; Col. 3:17, 23; 1 Cor. 10:31; 2 Thess. 3:6-12). He says, “Strike it. Strike it right here. This is your place. This is where I want you to influence eternity. Live the life I gave you to live.” And so, in stammering awe, we take up the hammer. We live our lives—our regular, everyday, toilsome lives. The hammer falls. Sparks fly. Eternity bends, and the Master is delighted (Matt. 25:21).

He goes on to comment:

There’s something massive going on here—God’s epic cosmic story—and we’re smack in the middle of it. He knows your name and mine. He’s given us each a life to live—a regular, everyday life—a particular place for us to shape eternity (Phil. 1:27Col. 1:101 Thess. 2:124:112 Thess. 3:6-12)

 All of this is to say, there is extraordinary worth in what we all do everyday!