Over at the Institute for Work, Faith and Economics, Dr. Vincent Bacote follows up on a previous post on business as Christian cultural engagement, explaining how such engagement needn’t be separated from our view of discipleship:
If we regard discipleship as the “spiritual” part of our life, we are certainly correct that it has everything to do with how we relate to God in our internal life. We would also have only a partial understanding of the extent of discipleship.
Jesus came pronouncing the arrival of the Kingdom of God, a reign that will ultimately be both in the hearts of people and the very structure of society itself. As we wait for the fullness of the Kingdom to arrive, we live as followers of Jesus who call him “Lord.” This means that he reigns over everything, including our external, every day lives beyond Sunday worship.
To be a disciple is to be a truly spiritual person, where “spiritual” does not mean “non-material” but directed by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:3-16; Galatians 5:17-19)…Christian disciples are people who pursue all of life with and under the Lordship of Christ. The fact of Christ’s Lordship does not equate to churches micromanaging the business affairs of congregants, but it should mean that churches are helping businesspeople have an increasingly greater vision for how their “business life” is an expression of the rich life of discipleship.
Indeed, and just as churches mustn’t speak only to a “spiritual” life apart from culture, those in business mustn’t see their work as only material or temporal in significance. Whatever earthbound benefits our business endeavors yield, being spirit-led in the work of our hands will make room for a host of spiritual contributions to the economy at large and those working within it.
Further, as Gerard Berghoef and Lester DeKoster note in Faithful in All God’s House: Stewardship and the Christian Life, our daily work has eternal spiritual implications for us as individuals:
One’s job may be done by another. But each doer is himself unique, and what carries over beyond life and time is not the work but the worker. What doing the job does for each of us is not repeated in anyone else. What the exercise of will, of tenacity, of courage, of foresight, of triumph over temptations to get by, does for you is uniquely your own. One worker may replace another on the assembly line, but what each worker carries away from meeting the challenge of doing the day’s shift will ever be his own. The lasting and creative consequence of daily work happens to the worker. God so arranges that civilization grows out of the same effort that develops the soul.
Read Bacote’s full post.