At Work

Catalyst and the Biblical Doctrine of Work

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Last week I wrote about the Millennial generation, and what the messages coming from the latest Catalyst conference in Duluth, Georgia would have to say about faith and work.

As it turns out, Catalyst had a lot to say to Millennials about integrating faith and vocation. Here are four messages I took away from the conference:

1) Vocation is rooted in Genesis. 

Catalyst’s theme was “MAKE,” as in we were “made to be makers,” and “the making of a leader.” All this making was given a biblical context from the get-go. I was pleased to hear emcee Chris Seay explain during his greeting:

  • God is the Creator.
  • We are made in His image.
  • Therefore, we have the ability, and the calling, to be co-creators.

In fact, this declaration was found on the opening pages of my Catalyst manual:

Our creator calls us to join him as co-creators in our world.

We were made to make because our God is a maker.

2) “Making” in the context of the four-chapter gospel

Now, Catalyst didn’t come out and use the exact phrase “four-chapter gospel,” but the concepts were present.

The conference rooted “making” in the chapter of Creation. They then put making in the context of the other three chapters.

Again, from the Catalyst manual (emphasis added):

MAKE matters because God is making all things new and we are invited into that process. We are called to be agents of reconciliation, to push back the darkness wherever it may be found. Until the day of consummation we are called to make our presence felt in the redemption and restoration of all things.

The words in bold point to the remaining three chapters of the four-chapter gospel: the Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. The concepts of making, leadership, and vocation were placed in this context for the conference.

Catalyst was also careful to point out that God is the one making all things new. “God does the making and the saving,” reads their manual. We are called to join Him in that process. God is building the Kingdom; we are the hands and feet he has chosen for the enterprise.

3) Faithfulness in the process

In my last post on Millennials, I mentioned how twenty-somethings are struggling to find their place in life. One USA Today study reported that a majority of Millennials are anxious, depressed, full of uncertainty, and believe the next stage of life will be better than their current one.

Many Catalyst speakers spoke directly to this last point. Perry Noble, senior pastor at Newspring Church, gave the helpful illustration of David, before he became King of Israel. Referring to David’s time spent as a shepherd, Noble reminded the Catalyst audience that,

David faithfully developed his skills in the midst of solitude, hardship, and frustration.

It was in the midst of this hardship and frustration that God made David into the leader he became. Catalyst especially focused on the “process” of becoming a leader. Attendees were encouraged to embrace the obstacles, the anxiety, and live faithfully in the present.

Millennials may be more excited about the future, but it is in the here and now that God is equipping each of us to pursue our callings.

4) Fame can be an enemy of vocation.

One of the consequences of the Fall is that our work can often be frustrating and unglamorous.

What’s more, not all of us are called to those “rock-star” vocations. We weren’t all created to be Blake Mycoskie or Mark Zuckerberg.

“Fame is a drug wrecking many Christian leaders,” warned Catalyst speaker Jon Acuff. We are called to be faithful makers wherever we are – whether we are dentists or teachers or any other vocation performed outside the spotlight.

It is tempting to want to pursue more high-profile positions at the expense of pursuing our callings.

However, if you’ve been given the gifts and talents to be a dentist, and you choose to go and pursue a trendy calling you might not have been given, you are burying your talents in the dirt, in the same manner as the servant from the Parable of the Talents.

Some people are called to positions that will bring them fame. Others will be called to positions of seeming obscurity. What’s important, though, is that while the world may not see your faithful service, God does. And he is the audience that matters most.

What do you think? Do any of these messages resonate with you? Leave your comments here

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