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Series: How to Stay in our Job “with God”: Creative Productivity for a Purpose

2. We make much of Christ in our secular work by the joyful, trusting, God-exalting design of our creativity and industry.

Creative Productivity for a Purpose

There is a lot underneath this heading in John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life, but I’ll try to summarize it all here with a sentence from Piper:

“…[T]he essence of our work as humans must be that it is done in conscious reliance on God’s power, and in conscious quest of God’s pattern of excellence, and in deliberate aim to reflect God’s glory (141).

There’s enough meat in that one sentence to keep me busy in my secular workplace for the rest of my life! In short: we work in our secular workplaces with God when we strive for creative productivity for a purpose.

“As Good as Prayer”

Piper also addresses a common error made by well-meaning folks of faith in their secular workplaces: neglecting the responsibilities of our jobs in favor of “exercises of devotion” (e.g., prayer, Bible reading, fasting)–in other words, “personal piety to the neglect of secular duties”–is hypocritical (141). Jonathan Edwards once wrote about his wife as an example of the opposite of this error: “worldly business has been attended with great alacrity, as part of the service of God; [she declared] that it being done thus, ’tis found to be as good as prayer;” (quoted in Piper, 141).

Piper goes on: “True personal piety feeds the purposeful work of secular vocations rather than undermining it. Idleness does not grow in the soil of fellowship with God” (142).

Summary

The second way to bring God to work is:

  1. Consciously relying on his power
  2. Consciously shaping the world after his excellence (and thereby doing excellent work)
  3. Thereby being satisfied in him.
  4. Thereby having Him glorified in us.

Application

For me as a public school English teacher, excellent work means:

  • Grading papers in a manner that is most helpful to students.
  • Grading with honesty and accuracy on all graded assignments.
  • Planning lessons not with teacher ease as the highest priority, but with whatever will most effectively make the lesson accessible and meaningful to students.
  • Incorporating a moral bedrock to all classroom instruction, both with words and with deeds.
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About davestuartjr
Dave Stuart Jr. is a full-time teacher who writes about becoming better, saner teachers at TeachingtheCore.com. He is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to Crystal, and a father to Hadassah, Laura, and Marlena.

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