Faith and work reflections

By Cara Ann Maeda, Bethel Seminary San Diego

2016 winner of the 100,000 Hours Colloquy!

Imagine.  Imagine a kingdom, a glorious kingdom.  Beautiful streets with joyous people working, living, and serving.  Each person there loves the King for he is kind, forgiving, righteous, and unconditionally loving.  The people desire to serve and love the King because they look upon his goodness and long to be better.  The Prince of the kingdom has acted on the people’s behalf and allows each person to come into the presence of this radiant King.  And as the people work and live in the kingdom, an Advocate walks alongside each person, equipping them for every task that is set before them.  The people of this kingdom are completely cared for and there is a peace that flows freely.

This kingdom is unlike anything else ever experienced.  Each person knows the goodness that is in this place, so much so that they long for more people to live and serve in this kingdom.  Therefore, each person’s main goal as citizens is to glorify and serve the King while inviting others into this incredible kingdom.  And people do so.  This kingdom grows and functions through its citizens.  Each person has a unique role based on the talents and desires given by the Creator.  Everyone doesn’t do everything but instead the wise King gives specific tasks to each individual so that there is harmony and completeness.  The people work hard and desire to offer their best in their specific role.  The citizens rely on the Helper to teach and guide, while following the perfect example of the Prince.   In this kingdom, work and serving the King are not separated but are simply part of being a citizen.  Their work is their praise and they serve through their work.  They serve the King by serving others and they have the joy of being cared for as others serve the King. When needs arise, the King calls people accordingly and when he calls, the people respond with joy and delight.  In this kingdom, there is a reciprocal rhythm that flows within and through the citizens under the headship of the Royalty.

The people also graciously accept the rest offered, trusting that any work that needs to be done will get done because the King manages his kingdom well.  The good King cares for his people, never asking them to do more than he knows they can handle.  Therefore, each citizen is fulfilled in all aspects of their being, doing the good works that they were created to do and offering praise to the King as they serve.  Imagine.

As Christians, we are to both imagine and live this out.  We are the citizens, working and serving for the glory of the Lord.  We work not for the sake of working but as a means of restoring the goodness that was originally intended.  Unfortunately, the goodness originally created was corrupted and we are currently living in a world tainted with brokenness.  As citizens of God’s kingdom, we live with our eyes set upon the glory of the kingdom while living in the midst of a fallen world.  Within the world, each of us has been given a role, called to be ambassadors of the loving King, and offering foretastes of his kingdom.

We need reminders of this, all of this.  When we discuss the integration of faith and work, we are essentially reminding each other of kingdom living.  Being inundated with many voices demanding our attention, we need the reminders that draw us back to the voice of the good and righteous King as he calls us to specific ways of serving.  As brothers and sisters in Christ, we can remind one another of the goodness of work, that we are people called by the good King, and that we have the freedom to dream with the Lord.  When we offer these reminders, we help to transform and redeem our view of work.

Image © Sergey02 | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

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