Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
– 1 Corinthians 15:58
Commenting on this verse in a 2009 interview, theologian N.T. Wright says,
Your work is ‘not in vain.’ Why not? Because everything you do in the present, in the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ, everything that flows out of love and hope and grace and goodness, somehow will be part of God’s eventual Kingdom.
Everything we do in Christ contributes to the Kingdom he is building, and will bring in full when he returns. That refers to the work of mothers and fathers, the missionaries and pastors, the construction workers and janitors, even the investment bankers and entrepreneurs. Each vocation is seen as equally important and honorable in the eyes of God.
Steve Hill and Jim Howey, managers at the Blender Product factory in Denver, stress this point in a recent Christianity Today article. They claim Christians commonly make unfair assumptions about business leaders and because of that, Christians called into the business world are often underestimated.
In most churches, the Christian businessman is expected to carry out the work of God by sharing his faith in the workplace and donating to Christian charities. But what about the work of his hands? Howey says,
Being a Christian in business isn’t about making as much money now so we can retire and serve on ministry boards… Operating a business unto the Lord is about producing a quality product or service, treating people well, and stewarding the proceeds.
Steve and Jim understand that producing a quality product has significant meaning in living out God’s calling for their life. They believe this because their faith saturates every aspect of their work.
In this short clip from the Acton Institute, Father Robert Sirico echoes this illustration by suggesting the businessman has been unjustly demonized by society. Sirico’s compelling narrative draws us back to a theologically sound understanding of the vocation of business and the eternal importance of all work.
Editor’s Note: the introduction to the following video contains offensive language.
Suggested further reading: The Entrepreneurial Vocation by Father Robert Sirico.
What do you think? Is business a legitimate calling for Christians? Tell us why or why not. Leave your comments here.