The Theology of Work

There are many different areas of life where it is very challenging and difficult to live out our Christian faith. One of these is the workplace. Many people feel under pressure from the long hour culture that is prevalent today. Additionally with the advances in technology some feel an expectation of always being “on-call” to their bosses.

Not to mention the challenge of our working relationships with our work colleagues and managers. If we are honest there are probably some colleagues who we prefer not to work with! All of us at times at work have lost our cool with people and then felt embarrassed about it afterwards.

Why do we work? Is it just to earn enough money to pay the bills and to go on holiday occasionally? Should we be sharing our faith at work or is that not appropriate? Is God really interested in what we do at work? What does the bible say about work?

If you are interested in looking more in depth at this subject then you may find The Theology of Work website helpful.

On their website they say the vision of the Theology of Work Project is that every Christian be equipped and committed for work as God intends

Considering how much time many of us spend at work it’s certainly worth looking more closely at this subject from a Christian prospective.

Checking work emails when on holiday

I received an email at work on Monday, concerning some new research undertaken by LinkedIn about British workers checking their work emails whilst on holiday. The following results caught my attention:

  • 24% of British workers say they can’t relax if they don’t check their work emails while on annual leave.
  • 37% feel more positive about their return to work if they’ve been checking in on work while out of the office.
  • 68% of those questioned don’t mind checking their work emails while their out of office is on.
  • 60% admitted opening in their inbox at least once a day.
  • 48% say that they check their emails as they don’t want to fall behind.
  • 84% of those questioned confessed that they actually respond to work emails while they’re on holiday.

I find it incredible that people are unable to switch off from looking at emails and enjoy their summer holidays.

Whilst work is important it is also essential for our own well-being that we relax and take a break from the pressures of it. If you are on your summer holidays then you should not be working but rather enjoying your holiday. Instead of looking at work emails why not switch off your smartphone / tablet and do one or more of the following:

  • Go for a walk
  • Go for a run
  • Go for a swim
  • Play tennis
  • Read a book (make sure it’s not work related!)
  • Take a boat trip
  • Visit a museum
  • Go sightseeing
  • Enjoy the company of those you have gone on holiday with!

We spend so much time at work that we should at least try to enjoy our holidays and forget about work. Go on give it a go!

No One Likes Change

Let’s be honest we don’t really like change do we? Most of us are normally quite happy with the status quo and like things to remain exactly as they have always been.  We like what we are comfortable with.

I’m reminded of the character Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory who always has the same food on a set night each week e.g. Monday night is Thai takeaway, Friday night is Chinese takeaway etc.  If anyone attempts to change this routine then they meet fierce resistance from him.

I find myself worryingly adopting similar tendencies when I visit local restaurants. In each restaurant I always have a favourite that I select each time I visit. If a restaurant removes my favourite item from the menu it throws me into total confusion! In fact I stop going to that particular restaurant. How dare they change the menu!

CHANGE AT WORK

There have been many changes in the working world over the last few years. The world of work has changed beyond recognition during the time I have been working.  When I first started work we did not have PC’s. We recorded the number of transactions we did by hand in a big ledger. I wonder what today’s young people would make of that.

I remember a number of years ago when I first encountered spreadsheets. Back in those days we used Lotus 1-2-3 and my initial reaction was resistance to them. One of my colleagues was very good at writing formulas in Lotus 1-2-3 and I was not. This was a change I did not like!

Now fast forward to the present day and I really enjoy working with Excel spreadsheets and trying to find quicker ways to complete tasks! I couldn’t imagine a world without spreadsheets now.

Technology has brought many changes to the workplace over the last 20 years. I suspect that there will be many more to come. How will I embrace these changes? Will I be willing to change and be adaptable or will I yearn for a return to the old ways?

CHANGE AT CHURCH

The following story of a conversation between a new vicar and a church warden illustrates the problem we have with change in churches:

Vicar: “How long have you been coming to this church Fred?

Church Warden: “I’ve been coming here for over 20 years.”

Vicar: “You must have seen a lot of changes over those 20 years.”

Church Warden: “Yes I have and I have resisted all of them!”

This year my church will be merging with one of our sister churches to form one new church. Both churches currently have very different styles of worship. The plan is to hold two services which will reflect the differing styles of worship that both congregations have at present.

Both churches at the moment meet for worship at 10am. However, going forward that is going to have to change, probably for both churches, as we will need to fit in two services during the morning. I personally like worshiping at 10am. It’s very convenient for me! I would rather we kept worship at 10am but that is unlikely to happen and I will have to accept this change.

We are in the process of advertising for a leader for our new merged church. Whoever gets this position will be responsible for ensuring that this merger goes ahead and planning how this is done.

There will no doubt be a number of changes over the forthcoming months and years. Some of these changes will be well received and some I expect will probably be resisted. What will my response be going forward? Will I resist every change and long for a return to the ways things are now? Or will I embrace change and prayerfully accept changes including those that I do not like?

As Christians we must always be open to embrace any changes that God wants to do in us. In John’s 15: 1-2 Jesus says

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

Jesus will prune the branches. Change is both good and necessary.

Change is for us. Don’t let yearnings for the past hold us back from change