By Justin Talk, Bethel Seminary St. Paul
The concept of idolatry hasn’t changed much since the times of the Old Testament. Timothy Keller listed some common views of Idolatry as “celebrities being teen idols, having people bow down to figures, someone who becomes a workaholic, or someone greedy to where money becomes an object of extreme devotion”. The writer of the book of Exodus expands the idol commandment with someone not having an imagine in the form of anything in heaven above, on the earth beneath, or in the waters below (Exod. 20:4). The concept of idolatry is similar in the Old Testament but I believe the forms of idolatry have changed in work. Idolatry seems to have shifted from a physical form, like the golden calf, to a mindset or attitude. The idolatry mindset tends to seek “status, power, approval, achievement, romance, pleasure, affluence, or comfort”. Idolatry is “trusting anything to deliver the control, security, significance, satisfaction, and beauty that only the real God can give”.
There is a tendency to find those attributes in life in one’s work or profession. One reason is the financial aspect of work. Money can make one feel secure about their finical situation. There is a comfort factor to relying on one’s wealth because it is tangible. You can hold, spend, see, smell, save, and collect money. Another reason is the title, or status, that seems to come with one’s profession. This status is also tangible. Other people can see one’s status within a business or workplace. There are signs on doors, announcements in emails, staff directories online, and badges that all give us titles within the workplace. While this title, or status, system is not necessarily wrong, it is an area of concern for idolatry in the work place.
I believe that fighting the issue of idolatry in the workplace starts with us. We need to realize that at the core of work our purpose is to expand the love of the Gospel. We work because we are image-bearers of God. God has worked since creation, and being image-bearers we are designed to work. Working through needs to be done in the mindset of advancing the kingdom. Without this kingdom mindset, the issue of idolatry can tend to seek in. Keeping the attitude and mindset of advancing the kingdom will help against the idolatry issue.
Keller, Timothy. Every Good Endeavor. New York: Penguin Group, 2012.
 Keller, Timothy. Every Good Endeavor. New York: Penguin Group, 2012.
 (Keller 131)
 (Keller 128)
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