A Christian Definition on Work

Ben Witherington’s definition of work:

“…any necessary and meaningful task that God calls and gifts a person to do and can be undertaken to the glory of God and for the edification and aid of human beings, being inspired by the Spirit and foreshadowing the realities of the new creation.” (p. xii adapted from “Work: A Christian Perspective on Labor” by Ben Witherington III)

Some notes:
-Here the notion of calling or vocation is evident
-Work is undertaken for the glory of God
-Not just in the scope of edification of our Christian community, although this is emphasized, but takes on the larger scope of humanity, where Witherington mentions for the “aid of human beings.”
-The part where he mentions “being inspired by the Spirit” exhibits the implication of emphasis that there is an ethical perspective to work. Not all work has this ethical perspective in mind, e.g. creating pornography or war for that matter.
-This definition also takes into account an eschatological vision, which we call the new creation. There will be no ceasing of work in the new creation.

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5 thoughts on “A Christian Definition on Work

  1. Peedy says:

    nice post, J. I like the idea of work being a “foreshadowing of the realities of the new creation”, it means that work isn’t a punishment. The difficulty involved in working is obviously part of the fall, but God worked for 6 days and rested the 7th, and it certainly looks like Adam worked pre-Fall too. good thoughts 🙂

  2. j says:

    Peedy,
    Yeah you’re right on that. I think the sad notion that some Christians have with regards to eternity is that it will be devoid of work. I think looking at work as a foreshadowing of the new creation is really great and biblical!

  3. Smith says:

    May God bring back this form of work mindset and life back to His Church.May the Church of God in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large stop working like the people of this world do. May we be blessed with heartwork and not hardwork, so that we can work as it is done in heaven here on earth and now that we are still on earth. AMEN..

  4. Kate says:

    I’m not sure I agree with the way you said “There will be no ceasing of work in the new creation.”
    I think we’re on the same page in saying that in the new creation there will be no cease to the of glorification of God (which is perhaps what you’re saying the purpose of all work is) – but what about the concept of eternal rest?

    1. Jon P.A says:

      Hi Kate, I think that statement and with the mention of work, I’m not looking at it as how we live in this world now; post-Eden (after the fall). I believe in eternal rest but I also believe in a better view of work. Work at the beginning of time was mandated to Adam not something that came because of the fall. Even with the “concept” when we think of kingdom- there is surely going to be work- just now how it effects us on earth now.

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