Being a Christian impacts how you work. If I look at my own life and look at how I worked before being a Christian versus after, there was a great transformation in the quality, quantity, joy, and focus. We need a good theology of work because few of us recognize how our theology from Scripture can and should impact the work we have. As the world becomes more self-focused and jobs follow suit, Christians need to be reminded that our work is not for humanity, but for divinity.
Jobs today seem to be more about the personal paycheck rather than personal piety. I lament that my early years of work I did not do a better job . . . there was a period when I was in customer service and I can think of many instances in which I treated people pretty poorly. What’s sad about that statement, as I lament those actions they have become the norm and customer service has gotten worse. What does that have to do with work? It proves a point. As jobs becomes more about self and less about God, the motivation for quality is suffering.
As part of their Short Studies in Biblical Theology series, Crossway has recently released Work and Our Labor in the Lord by James Hamilton. James Hamilton is a professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a pastor as Kenwood Baptist Church. Personally, I know of no scholar better than James Hamilton when it comes to biblical theology. Over the years I have come to appreciate his works as they are insightful, easy to read, and very applicable to the Christian life and they are beneficial to all readers. In fact, one can see details from his work God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment come out in his work here. Hamilton’s grasp of the continuity of Scripture allows him to present topics from a perspective that captures the entirety of the Bible’s teachings.
It will not be surprising then, to see Hamilton’s writings in Work and Our Labor in the Lord follow the same level of detail as he examines work from a biblical theology viewpoint. While seeking “to answer the question ‘How did the biblical authors view work?’” Hamilton takes readers cross a number of genres of Scripture to present an accurate view of work in the Bible. Utilizing only four chapters (plus a concluding section of several paragraphs) the author shows how work was intended to be at creation, what it was like after the fall, how Christ’s work impacted our work, and finally the restoration of work to its intended appropriateness upon the restoration of man. I suspect that few of us have thought about work at these varying levels, and thus to follow Hamilton’s thoughts through each of these aspects is enlightening.
Not only does the author do well at presenting a view of work that spans all of Scripture, but readers will also appreciate the conciseness with which he conveys the material. Hamilton utilizes only 128 pages to teach the truth of work. Therefore, it is a quick read, easy to follow, and easy to understand. This also makes applying the content to one’s life easier, although I wish the author was a bit more intentional in including in relating the material to everyday living. In that regard, unfortunately it lacks a motivational factor for many people. That does not mean that the material is not worthwhile.
Frankly, Hamilton’s biblical theology of work is necessary. His organization and presentation of the material is methodical and biblical. As a result Work and Our Labor in the Lord is beneficial and applicable to the Christian walk. All Christians would do well to read it for its sanctifying value for the everyday Christian walk.
To purchase a copy of this work or some of his others works (which are also great reads) click the following links:
- Work and Our Labor in the Lord
- God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment (Hamilton has developed a yearly Bible reading plan to accompany this book; if you are not engaged in daily Bible reading, I would recommend taking part in this plan. You can find the plan in various formats by clicking here).
- God’s Indwelling Presence
- What is Biblical Theology?
- With the Clouds of Heaven: The Book of Daniel in Biblical Theology
- Revelation (Preach the Word Commentary)
- Song of Songs (Focus on the Bible Commentary)
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free from the publisher for the purposes of review. However the review given was the response and result of my own reading of the book and not at given based on any influence from the publisher.