FAITH@WORK – Salt and Light by David Malherbe
I believe that our perception of faith and church is to a large extent determined by what we grew up with. I once listened to a sermon on TV by a Navy Chaplain, preaching to a group of soldiers on a pier of a harbour. He asked the question, that if a person who had never in his life set foot in a church, should accept Christ as his Lord and Saviour, how would he decide which church to join? His solution was to read the book of Acts and then to look for a church that resembled the same. It made me think about my view of church.
I think the same applies to us as Christians’ view of faith at work, which was probably formed by the tradition that faith and work were two things that should not mix with each other.
The reason why we think this way, is because of the Greek philosophy of Dualism that we unknowingly grew up with, according to C. Peter Wagner in his book The church in the Workplace. According to this philosophy by Plato, the world is divided into two levels.
The Greeks place spiritual things in the upper of two levels, when identifying unchanging spiritual truths and call it “form.” The lower level of the two is called “matter” which has to do with the temporal and physical. The workplace therefore, resorts under the lower level of “matter” meaning it is carnal, dealing with earthly things like business and money. Therefore people say that religion and work does not mix, but this is a humanistic approach. The Hebrew mindset on the other hand states that “Life isn’t divided into secular and sacred. It’s all a place of service for God.” The Hebrew see both the spiritual and the natural (including work) realms as one entity under the hand of God, meaning that our work is a form of ministry. It is as sacred as singing in the choir. So to understand our role as the church in the workplace, we need to switch our paradigm to the Hebrew mindset
We can therefore compare the church in the world with a sports team. The people in the church on Sunday are like a team in the cloakroom, planning a strategy and encouraging each other. Yet, the rest of the week we are that same team playing the game on the field. If we should say that the sacred and the secular do not mix, it is like saying that the game plan we decided on in the cloakroom, stays in the cloakroom and we do not take it to the field.
The game that we should play, is to be salt and light, as Jesus told us in Mat 5:13-16 and to go and make disciples of all the nations (not only those people who attend church) and to teach them to observe all things that He has commanded us. (Mat 28:19 & 20)
(David Malherbe is among other involved in Marketplace Ministry and lives in Wellington. He can be contacted via his web page www.jedidiah.org.za or T/F 021-873 0262 or on Facebook at “JedidiahCenter.”)