Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Dignity of Work

I live in a blue-collar region. People here are still waving goodbye to the many steel mills that defined our valley almost 30 years after they closed, while desperately holding on to what few manufacturing jobs are left. That’s why Carl Trueman’s post today struck a chord. He speaks of the dignity of work – all work, and while it is easy to affirm, we haven’t quite have figured out how it looks. He says:
First, how does the church enable those in such jobs to find God-given satisfaction? It is oh-so-easy for those of us who have jobs which we enjoy doing to talk about `the dignity of labour' when the labour we have has, in a sense, its own intrinsic dignity. But what of the labour that does not have such dignity in and of itself? Which is monotonous, unskilled, boring, poorly paid, and which slowly but surely bleeds any last vestige of creativity and spontaneity out from the veins? The obvious answer is, of course, to find such dignity in extrinsic factors, supremely in doing everything to the glory of God. But, let's face it, it is a whole lot easier to do an enjoyable job to the glory of God than to sweep the factory floor day after day to the same.

Read the rest of the post here

Those in pastoral ministry would do well to know how the people in their congregations spend their days to earn their living. As he sits in his comfortable study preparing the next sermon, there will be a natural disconnect between the pastor and the deacon or elder who works for the road department or on the assembly line. How do we teach and demonstrate the dignity of work to the glory of God?

1 comment:

Jeff said...

I have often said that there is a disconnect between clergy and laity. One example that stands out (although it is in a slightly different vein than this post discusses): I once knew a pastor (whom I'm pretty sure you or your readers do not know) that pushed his working class congregation to help with Bible school every evening (after working their normal workday). The Pastor then took extra time off (non-vacation) the following week to make up for the extra hours HE put in at Bible school. Did his working class congregation get excused from any of their normal work time the following week to recuperate?

Thanks for the thought provoking post and kudos to you for being open-minded enough to acknowledge that a disconnect exists.