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C. S. Lewis and How the Gospel Changes our Jobs

In thinking about how the gospel changes our jobs in secular workplaces, I found this quote from C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity interesting:

[A] continual looking forward to the eternal world is not, as some modern people think, a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither.

Lewis’ quote begins by mentioning a common trap I see my Christian colleagues falling into: since we are saved and have our eternal lives secured, what we do now does not matter. Or: since we believe that Jesus is coming back soon to make all things new, we don’t need seek the flourishing of the secular company or institution I work for. Or: Since what my company does is not directly relating to saving souls, it does not need my full, earnest effort.

If you’ve got eyes and ears, you’ve heard or seen the fruits of this kind of thinking. God hasn’t left us without help with this problem–the letters to the Thessalonians are all about living fruitful lives in light of what we believe about the Second Coming of Christ and the world to come.

And then there are authors like Lewis who, in light of the gospel, see the obvious error in viewing heaven as an excuse for poor effort at secular jobs.

Let the truth of the new heavens and new earth change our approach to our jobs, God! May the hope that we have shape our work ethic–we know that we can pour ourselves out for excellence in our careers, for services and products that promote human flourishing, because we know that the world you’re going to give us in the end–the “other world” Lewis mentions–is going to be nothing but flourishing.

Let’s seek the flourishing of our companies and our colleagues today.

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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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