Tuesday, June 9, 2015 6:01 AM

Work is Love

Tuesday, June 9, 2015 6:01 AM
Tuesday, June 9, 2015 6:01 AM

Mk 12:30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ Mk 12:31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

I love this quote from B. R. Ashford on work and love.

In an excellent book titled God at Work, Gene Veith takes his cues from Luther and explains that the purpose of each of these callings is to love the Lord our God and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:30–31). We demonstrate our love for God by fulfilling these callings in ways that honor him, bring him glory, and are shaped by his Word. We demonstrate our love for our neighbors similarly, by exercising our callings in ways that honor God and are shaped by his Word. Our love for God leads to love for our neighbors. In fulfilling our callings, we will notice that we are loving our neighbors and they are loving us. Through our callings, we serve our neighbors and they serve us. We depend upon them, and they depend upon us.

Consider the example of a hungry child. When God provides for a hungry child, he usually does not do so by sending manna from heaven, or by instantaneously multiplying fishes and loaves. Although in certain instances he might do such things, ordinarily he does not. Ordinarily, God feeds hungry children through the work of farmers. In the United States, the children’s food most likely is grown on a farm, shipped to a warehouse, and then delivered to grocery stores, where parents buy food for their children. So far, the hungry child has been fed because of the work of farmers, tractor designers, truck drivers, warehouse owners, grocery store clerks, parents, and many others. But if we look a little deeper, we’ll also realize that the grocery store itself was built by engineers, contractors, electricians, and plumbers. The quality of food was (hopefully) overseen by public health inspectors. To summarize, God ordinarily feeds hungry children through a vast network of people who are fulfilling their vocations. The same can be said about the way God ordinarily heals sick people, provides shelter for families, or supplies any number of other necessities and conveniences.[i]

[i] Ashford, B. R. (2015). Every Square Inch: An Introduction to Cultural Engagement for Christians (pp. 36–37). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

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