The following blog is first in a six-part series on worldview and work taken from Darrow Miller’s new book LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day.
Most adults in the Western world spend half of their waking hours at work. In many developing countries, the number of hours spent at work is even higher. Yet for all the time we spend working, we seldom reflect on the questions, “What is work?” and “Why do we work?” We live largely unexamined lives; we do the things our mothers and fathers have done–in some countries for generations–without explanation. To simply begin to take seriously these questions could create a radical reordering of our lives.
As with all questions, the answers are ultimately determined by a person’s worldview. Our worldview determines how we see the world, the kinds of lives we live, and the kinds of societies we create. Our worldview shapes how we will answer the metaphysical questions we all face—basic questions about the nature of reality. There is an objective worldview, the worldview of the Bible. All other worldviews, to a greater or lesser extent, are a distortion of the reality that God has made.
All humans are social beings. We assimilate our mindset–our way of seeing the world–from our culture. We tend to think the way our culture thinks and value what our culture values. This is part of what it means to be human. When we come to Christ, we need to begin to have our minds renewed. The word repent—the Greek word metanoeo—literally means to change one’s mind. To repent is to begin to see the world the way God made the world and then to live and act within that framework. We are to have the mind of Christ. We are to bring every thought captive to Christ. We are no longer to be conformed to the world but are to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. In coming to Christ, we need to begin to think “Christianly.” We need to increasingly have the mind of Christ, not the mind we inherit from our culture.
To the extent that the worldviews of our cultures distort reality, they are inadequate to show us the nature of God, the world, and ourselves as they and we really are. Unless we have been intentional about renewing our minds according to the worldview of the kingdom, our cultural worldview will determine, consciously or unconsciously, our concept of work. In addition to biblical theism, there are two major worldviews: secularism, which assumes that reality is only physical, and animism, which assumes that the universe is ultimately spiritual. Sadly, the worldview of much of the evangelical, charismatic, and Pentecostal world today is not biblical theism but rather a subset of the animistic worldview, a Greek dualism that divides reality between the physical and the spiritual and assumes that the spiritual is more important. Each of these worldviews leaves us with an impoverished view of the universe, which in turn impoverishes individuals and whole nations and societies. We see this in both “developed” and “developing” countries, though the trend unfolds in very different directions. How might these worldviews be shaping your own understanding of your life and work?
We invite you to explore our new website, www.MondayChurch.org where you can learn more about Darrow’s new book, LifeWork: A Biblical Theology of Vocation for What You Do Every Day, as well as discover a host of resources to help you connect your work with the Biblical worldview.