At Work & Economics 101

The Twelve Days of Significance: Living A More Purposeful Life

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Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. – I Corinthians 12:1


Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it – I Corinthians 12:27

Joseph Brodsky, a Nobel Prize-winning Russian poet and essayist, once claimed in his essay collection, On Grief and Reason, that the most valuable lesson in life was “the lesson of your utter insignificance.”

Sadly, many people believe this “lesson,” and live as if it were true. It’s gotten to the point where even young adults experience a “quarter-life crisis.” Participants in a focus group IFWE surveyed last spring told us that some of their biggest fears are:

  • Not making a measurable difference.
  • Doing no actual good in the world.

These fears are widespread. This past summer, USA Today reported on a study of Millennials that revealed the following statistics about this generation:

  • 56% feel anxious.
  • 33% feel depressed.
  • 65% said that “this time of my life is full of uncertainty.”

Anxiety. Fear. Depression. All these are elements that comprise the mindsets of young adults, and probably a good number of other age groups, too. The fear of insignificance is an equal-opportunity employer.

The quarter-life crisis and fear of insignificance are the result of not understanding the biblical doctrine of work and its implications for work, vocation, success, and fulfillment.

At IFWE, we’re passionate about inspiring Christians to live out a life of significance. We believe that understanding the biblical doctrine of work and the principles of economics God has woven into the fabric of creation will help us all understand how to live more purposeful, fruitful lives.

Day-to-day life has incredibly rich value in the Kingdom of God. What is this day-to-day life all about, though, while we wait for Christ to come back? Another way to view significance is in light of stewardship, or “Stewardship with a capital ‘S’,” as Hugh Whelchel referred to it in a recent post.

Whelchel points out that the Disciple’s Study Bible defines stewardship as,

… a way of living that involves one’s daily activities, values and goals for life, and the use of all possessions. It begins with God and His plans for creation and purposes for humankind. The steward is God’s responsible representative and manager of all creation.

The reason Whelchel – and IFWE – describe stewardship with a capital “S” is because while Christians understand stewardship in regard to personal finances, there is a need to rediscover “whole-life stewardship,” or “Stewardship” that wisely uses the time, gifts, talents, and resources God has given us.

As Paul points out in the verses above from 1 Corinthians 12, we are given unique gifts and unique roles to play in the body of Christ and in the world. The body of Christ gives context to our significance, and a holistic understanding of Stewardship can help us use our unique talents more wisely and effectively for the sake of the Kingdom.

This is why we’re launching a new series, The 12 Days of Significance.

Over the next twelve days, we’ll be working to articulate twelve foundational principles of work and economics that we hope help us all better understand significance, stewardship, and the role we play in God’s plan “for creation and purposes for humankind”:

1. Stewardship

2. The Four Chapter Gospel

3. The Image of God and the Dignity of Human Beings

4. Creativity and the Cultural Mandate

5. Calling and Purpose

6. Trade and the Call to Community

7. Scarcity and Choice

8. Self-Interest vs. Greed

9. Wealth and Poverty

10. Markets, Freedom, and Creativity

11. The Kingdom of God

12. Reweaving Shalom: Seeking the Peace and Prosperity of Our Cities

These twelve principles comprise a framework for faith, work, and economics that we’re passionate about here at IFWE and want to communicate in a way that resonates with you.

Tell us what you hope to learn about these principles. Share with us your questions about faith, work, and economics. Give your feedback on what ideas and concepts are most compelling to you.

Join us over the next twelve days as we seek to rediscover significance.

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