Wednesday 13 March 2013

9Marks Journal 10, 2 (March-April 2013) on Pastoring Christians for the Workplace

The latest issue of the 9Marks Journal, this one devoted to ‘pastoring Christians for the workplace’, is now available as a pdf here.

Several of the pieces have already been published on the 9Marks blog over the last couple of weeks, but it’s handy to have them all together in one document.

The paragraphs below are from Jonathan Leeman’s Editorial Note:

‘The topic of work is a popular one right now among Christian writers and thinkers, which makes sense. When the Monday morning sun breaks through the bedroom curtains, the last residues of Sunday’s joys afforded by the Word and the company of the saints, still lingering lightly in the mind, can dissipate with the sigh, “Time to make the donuts.”

Pastor, how do you prepare your members for Monday’s alarm clock?

It is easy for armchair theologians to over-exalt the activities of 9 to 5, and talk as if Christians can build eternity now. Never mind Ecclesiastes. In theologically sound circles, ironically, the greater danger is not triumphalism, but a graying out of the next world. Never mind heaven.

No, don’t go those ways, pastor. Your church needs a picture of Bunyan’s Christian stumbling yet steadfastly clambering toward the celestial city, hands stretched forward, eyes fatigued but fixed on the horizon.

Still, the eternal life does begin now for the Christian. And faith helps us see that we participate in the character of the creator through our work. The sharpened pencil says that he is a God of planning and intentions. The populated spreadsheet speaks to his analysis and oversight. The choreography of traffic lights communicates his affirmation of order. The clean sheets on the hospital bed say that he is a God who leans down with compassion. And then of course God rests to relish the good work of his hands.

What a joy and privilege it is to work, and so speak if only in whispers of our generous and delegating God, even as you make the donuts. Maybe an extra dollop of frosting says it more loudly?’

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