Not All Vocational Pursuits Are Equal

| January 15, 2015

Pastors should celebrate when their members break free of the muddled idea that some jobs are sacred while others are secular. To say that there is no sacred/secular divide is not the same thing as saying that all secular pursuits are equally worthy. 

Some jobs, we know, are morally out-of-bounds. No preacher worth his salt is going to encourage his congregants to start a brothel, take a job at an “adult” bookstore, or enroll as a mercenary soldier. Hopefully, few Christians need specific instructions to avoid such career paths, but some may need to be challenged about degrees of good—to be encouraged to ask whether the way they are investing their work time (typically 40 hours or more a week) reflects what really matters in light of God’s priorities and the world’s needs. 

Church leaders should inspire their congregants to choose jobs that, to the greatest extent possible, offer them the best opportunities for directing their creative talents toward the end of advancing shalom for the common good. Some secular organizations and companies are engaged in putting creativity to work in directions that are substantive for human flourishing; for example, in innovations that advance health or environmental stewardship. However, other…

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