Our labor should mirror God's creation and care for the world, but often it is mere drudgery because we idolize work or distort its meaning.
"Work can be a powerful source of livelihood, purpose, individual agency, social place, and connection to the divine," Darby Ray notes, but its “ability to confer these positive meanings is threatened by the dynamics of consumer culture." Joel Schwartz focuses on the threat to work's role in preserving our dignity and furthering our fulfillment. Christine Fletcher investigates why we undervalue caring for the weak, young, and old, and consider this "love's labor" for women. Jonathan Sands Wise warns that we dangerously overvalue efficiency at the expense of other values in our work.
Matt Beal considers how to respond to underemployment, which takes a high spiritual toll as work becomes entwined with personal identity. Robert Dickie critiques both the "poverty gospel" and the "prosperity gospel" for focusing on "what we earn and what we own rather than for whom we work and why we work." Mitch Neubert and Kevin Dougherty study faith-work integration, and Bob Newell explores options to empty retirement.
The study guides and lesson plans integrate Bible study, prayer, and worship to explore work's goodness in the Christian moral life and diagnose its contemporary diseases. The guides can be used in a series or individually. You may download and reproduce them for personal or group use.