…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6

 

A cable pulled taut in either direction.This past summer, my church blessed me with a sabbatical, which allowed me to rest, study, and prepare to lead my church with renewed energy and purpose. Ultimately, our work belongs to God and we can trust him enough for us to rest and reflect so that he can accomplish even more in and through us.

One of the books I committed to reading during my sabbatical was Dave Evans and Bill Burnett’s Designing Your Life, which challenged me to reflect on my workview and lifeview.

A workview sums up not just what you think about your specific work but of work in general. The book asked me to write a short 250-word statement that addressed these kinds of questions: Why work? What’s work for? What does work mean? How does it relate to the individual, others, society? What defines good or worthwhile work? What does money have to do with it? What do experience, growth, and fulfillment have to do with it?

In addition, the book asked me to define my lifeview by asking: Why are we here? What is the meaning or purpose of life? What is the relationship between the individual and others? Where do family, country, and the rest of the world fit in? What is good and what is evil? Is there a higher power, God, or something transcendent, and if so, what impact does this have on your life? What is the role of joy, sorrow, justice, injustice, love, peace, and strife in life?

As challenging as this sounds, it is a great exercise for any leader to do because your workview and lifeview constitute a set of beliefs that have real implications.

Suppose, for example, that your workview includes helping the most marginalized get out of poverty, but your job is at a debt collection agency. You’ll feel plenty of inner tension and wonder if you should keep your job. Yet, if you have a lifeview that values providing security and comfort to your family, then you’ll feel an obligation to keep working in the agency, at least until you find a new job.

Each of us sometimes feels tensions related to our workview and lifeview. So, one benefit of doing this exercise is to clarify those tensions so you can make an action plan to move toward coherence. We’ll look at this idea of coherence in tomorrow’s devotional.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

Which questions related to workview or lifeview can you most readily answer? How is money both a workview and a lifeview question? Do Christians have a distinct advantage in pursuing a “well-lived, joyful life”? If so, can you think of some Christians who embody this, whom you could meet with to discuss how they achieve it?

Is helping the people you lead understand their workview and lifeview something you could incorporate into a growth opportunity this year? What is the biggest tension you are experiencing in your workview? Your lifeview? Or is there tension between the two?

PRAYER:

Lord, you created us for work that would glorify you, and you also intend for us to enjoy our lives. Amen.

 

Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary: God’s Work in Us (Philippians 1:1–26)