At Work & Public Square

How the 2010s Gave Us Unlimited Choices, but Little Meaning

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As we close out the second decade of the 21st century, it is good to stop and think about where we are in God’s redemptive plan. In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Jonathan Sacks writes:

Science, technology, the free market and the liberal democratic state have enabled us to reach unprecedented achievements in knowledge, freedom, life expectancy and affluence. They are among the greatest achievements of human civilization and are to be defended and cherished.

Sacks then goes on to say, as important as these things are, they do not answer three very critical questions:

Who am I? Why am I here? How then shall I live?

The 21st century has given us great abundance and almost unlimited choices but a minimum of meaning. Again, Sacks writes:

Science tells us how but not why. Technology gives us power but cannot guide us as to how to use that power. The market gives us choices but leaves us uninstructed as to how to make those choices. The liberal democratic state gives us freedom to live as we choose but refuses, on principle, to guide us as to how to choose.

As Christians, we know that the answer to these three questions is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet, many of us still struggle with the last question, how then shall I live?

Finding Our Purpose

We started the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics over eight years ago help believers answer that question. The first book we published, How Then Should We Work? suggested that work was a very important part of how we live out our lives as believers. It is through the work of our hands that God brings flourishing to the communities he has called us to serve—flourishing that glorifies God, serves the common good, and adds significance and meaning to our lives.

Our most popular booklet, All Things New, has helped thousands to see the fullness of the gospel in four chapters—Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration—and to use this model of God’s redemptive history to find their place in “His Story.”

Over the last eight years we have written over 2,000 blogs and more than 25 books, videos and other resources designed to encourage Christians with the reasons, insights, and motivation to excel in the workplace and make a difference in the world. Our vision is to see Christians through their vocation, making a positive, sustainable difference in the world for the flourishing of all mankind and the glory of God!

Sharing the Story

While nearly a million unique visitors came to our website this year, we still have a lot of work left to do in advancing a free and flourishing society by revolutionizing the way people view their work. We still have many to reach with the Bible’s timeless truths about the purpose of our work and how to make wise decisions with all that we’ve been given.

We are living in the third chapter of the four-chapter gospel, the chapter of Redemption. This chapter is about giving people around us a glimpse of the way things should be. As we live and work, we are called to be a witness not only for what could be but also what will be when Christ comes again and “makes all thing new” in the final chapter of Restoration.

Thanks to the generous support from those who believe in our mission, IFWE has been able to deliver a biblical message of hope to millions of people—people like Ingrid at Ball State University who, after reading our booklet All Things New this past spring, said,

I can’t wait for the new heavens and the new earth.

Ingrid then began to tell a fellow student about her new understanding of God’s creation and the way things were meant to be. She went on to explain sin and the fall through her new lens of the four-chapter gospel. The other student, a freshman, had grown up in church but had never understood the good news in this way. At the end of the conversation, the freshman prayed with Ingrid and began her journey of personally following Jesus.

When I wrote this booklet, I had no idea the various ways God would use it not only to help teach Christians but also draw others into his kingdom!

If you have been similarly blessed and encouraged by IFWE’s message here on the blog or through our other books and resources, please consider partnering with us to continue this important ministry. May God continue to bless the work of our hands.

Editor’s note: If you’re new to the IFWE blog, please just enjoy this article and take a look around our site for more content on God’s purpose for your work. Blessings on your Christmas season! 

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Further readings on At Work & Public Square

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