Welcome to Wednesday Workout. ?This week, by kind permission from Ethos, we are posting excerpts from an article entitled “Good Morning Adam …” or Knowing God in my Human Work ?which first appeared in Equip magazine (Issue 13) in June 2012. ?In a fascinating reflection, Terry Hunter writes about ?how he integrates his Christian faith with his work.
After providing a though provoking discussion of the Sunday-Monday connection (which we will try and post on another occasion), Terry explores how the big story of the Bible might interact with his daily work as a baker. ?Read on!?
CREATION, FALL AND REDEMPTION IN THE BAKING INDUSTRY
Our question may at this point be … “OK supposing all work (and every other human activity) does have much (or everything) to do with the kingdom of God, how does this happen? ?What does this work look like?”
When I search the teachings of the New Testament, my job as a baker … ?doesn’t seem to feature much in the Scriptures. ?How ought bread-making for example show or feature as Godly or Kingdom activity?
Now of course we need to leave aside the direct Biblical reference to Jesus as the Bread of Life etc. for we are now concerned with how any human work – whether specifically mentioned in the Scriptures or not – comes under the Lordship of Christ and is Kingdom work as opposed to just being ‘work’.
If we try to use the scriptures as a text book on our work, then we would have to conclude that any work we do that is not specifically dealt with in Scriptures is either wholly illegitimate or else irrelevant to God and Kingdom work, ?Neither of these can be true of course without us slipping into the deeply unchristian dualism of the sacred-secular.
So it is not an option to see my paid work simply as
- Just some neutral activity that brings money to feed my family and pay bills, or
- my chance to convert others to Christ in lunch breaks, or
- providing money to give to the church and missions so the good news about the Kingdom of God can spread through paying ministers to preach and teach, visit the sick, marry, baptise and bury people, run programs, property upkeep etc.. or
- that which keeps me occupied as a community member so I can help build ‘the common good’ through providing goods and services and paying taxes.
I can do all these things ‘faithfully’ as a servant in my workplaces and still not become transformed by the renewing of my mind and therefore never get to know what the will of God is for ‘baking’ and therefore never join God in redeeming it … that it might be placed under Christ’s feet (under his compassionate rule) as the letter to the Hebrews tell us.
A short outline of the approach I have taken and of the main issues needing addressing in my co-work with God in redeeming the baking industry now follows …
CREATION – Is baking a valid human task?
What nutritional as well as other benefits for the human community does the baking of foods provide which unbaked foods cannot provide? ?Discovering these benefits will confirm the validity of the baking process as a human task which Adam at some point was going to work with God and uncover its true potential to bless humanity and therefore bring glory to God. ?It is also therefore to be celebrated with joy and its results and wonder in its making. ?
Benefits might include nutritional, aesthetic, social sustenance, and creative.
FALL – how has human rebellion resulted in turning the baking industry into a curse??
Because we have chosen to do our own thing baking wise, what are the issues of destructiveness cursing the baking industry? ?How have humans distorted the role and purpose of baked goods and God-damning waste in the production and supply of baked goods?
How have I been a party to this?
What am I (deliberately, ignorantly or tacitly) doing that supports the industry in its destructiveness? Am I prepared to repent of this collusion and seek a new way?
What do I therefore need to repent and change my practices in? What do we need to do together? This includes all those areas which we have turned what was intended as a blessing … into a curse – nutritionally, aesthetically, socially, sustenance wise, and creatively.
How has the planting, weeding, nurturing, harvesting and associated baking industries added to the distortions of the fallen baking industry?
Issues or crop breeding for maximum profit, reduced baking foods to empty carbohydrates, food as an idol, food as an addiction, food as a way to control others, food as fuel only, food waste, food poverty, food nazis … are all needing to be addressed by God’s faithful in this industry.
What is the big picture if the whole thing is handed over to the children of God to redeem?
What is the small picture … my particular role … my prophetic vision … my individual response??
What are the signs of God’s grace that still remain there so that the whole industry does not implode and be completely destructive and which we might use as a starting point?
Can a group of God’s children with Holy Spirit understanding and power in this area together begin to make an impact both as a witness to the arrival of the Kingdom and to begin to bless humans in a new way through it?
- How can baked goods be promoted in their healthier forms or processes?
- Ought foods be seasonal or always convenient?
- Should they be sourced locally … using what fuels to transport and store them …
- Can foods be medicinal?
- Ought all food planting, harvesting and preparation be celebrated?
- Is an ‘waste’ acceptable?
- What is ‘sufficient’ food? What is excessive?
- How can it be better shared?
These are the types of valid and God-pleasing questions which I believe come from making the connections between our faith and our work.
They are relevant for each and every type of work that humans put their minds and hands to.
They are necessary for us to ask as we join with God in his reconciling work.
Redemption and transformation are on-going tasks on this earth and which tasks will be inherited by the next generation to take further … and each generation to follow till the fulfilment of its true purpose – to fully bless the inheritors of the new earth.
My (our) small part in the process is my (our) sacrificial offering which is pleasing to God and which in His faithfulness He takes and multiplies that it might bless my neighbours and in turn call them to faithfulness and trust in Him as the Good King/
This is surely Good News.
Reprinted with permission:?www.ethos.org.au