The topic of work is never far from the headlines. Just in the last week: the National Apprenticeship Awards, the fall in unemployment, the CBI’s call for a rise in living standards. But our church communities often have a blind spot when it comes to the world of work. People come through our doors on Sunday, but we tend to ignore what they do with their time and talents for the rest of the week – unless they are an accountant, in which case we swiftly recruit them as our treasurer. We might praise the caring professions as “worthwhile” and gloss over the rest. Or we reduce the work place to a “mission field”, simply encouraging people to share their faith with colleagues.
I think it’s time we got a lot more creative about our “theology of work” – how we understand work as part of God’s purpose for us. Like any proud parent, God is delighted when we use our talents and gifts, and flourish in our work. And God delights in the flourishing of human society: our families, our communities and our world. So let’s start to embrace our jobs as part of God’s plan, whether that’s IT or hairdressing, investment banking or painting and decorating. Our workforce creates jobs and prosperity. It connects us, feeds us, informs us, entertains us, provides hospitality and care, and so much more. And all of this uses the God-given talents we need to celebrate, supporting others to fulfil their potential in God’s world.
The Revd Poppy Hughes, Parish Priest for Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne