Work has always been a part of the human experience. It’s part of our daily, hourly lives—from earning money to making meals to washing laundry. Perhaps because it’s so mundane and necessary, so constant, we often have complicated relationships with it.
We allow it to consume us and define us. We arrange our lives around it, pushing important things out of the way. Or we do our best to avoid it, trying to do as little work as possible. We think work has nothing to do with being a Christian. Or we over-spiritualize our callings and define our holiness by our work success.
Scripture suggests a unique balance. It proposes we have worth without lifting a finger—that we cannot earn the love Christ freely gives us. It also proposes we have been given the dignity and joy of naming, exploring, ordering, and creating within God’s world.
Work in and of itself is something we were designed to do, which means it is connected to our sense of purpose. There is a reason we feel listless and aimless when left too long with nothing to do.
Several articles in this issue call our attention to our ancestors, Adam and Eve, who were given the commission to take care of the Garden of Eden. Gardening suggests that our work can bring forth new life; it is a regenerative act that provides for us and others and gives us something to grow and nurture.
In this issue, Andrea Nwabuike interviews Alana Walker Carpenter, CEO of Intriciti, an organization that empowers business leaders to integrate faith and work. Carpenter shares insights on how we define success and healthy ways to think about a career.
Alexander Pezzutto writes about how hurry steals our ability to walk slowly with God, to reflect, and to properly align our priorities. Preston Pouteaux describes how his church community has given him a grounded, hopeful avenue for love in an increasingly virtual world.
These days, burnout has become a hot-button topic in discussions about work and lifestyle. Don’t miss the insightful interview with Dean Davey, life coach and vice president of Pacific Life Bible College in Surrey, B.C. Davey has learned a lot about burnout, both through personal experience and research. His reflections on our capacity and a Christian work ethic are well worth your time.
As you pause from work and other responsibilities to read this issue, I hope these personal stories and reflections give you food for thought in considering your own relationship to work—the good and the bad. Most importantly, as we go through Lent and celebrate Easter, may you connect all these stories about work to our ultimate calling: to live out of love in response to Christ, who is always working for our good.