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Godly endeavor

"Godly endeavor" Continued...

Issue: "Homegrown terror," Dec. 5, 2009

Q: You write about Gnosticism: What is it, and what effect does it have in the United States? Gnosticism is an ancient Greek concept adopted into the church years and years ago. Gnosticism says there's a spiritual world and a physical world: The spiritual is higher and the physical is lower. I can't tell you how many times I've spoken with Christians who say, "I want to go into full-time Christian service." That means leaving law, engineering, farming, etc., to do something "higher": to be a pastor, an evangelist, or a church planter. A dualistic mindset permeates much of the church around the world: The best and the brightest want to leave "secular" or "worldly" work to become spiritual workers. But the Bible won't allow you to do that, because it begins in a garden where we're given the task to develop the earth, and it ends in a city, the City of God. Work within a biblical context is something that we've all been called to do, and there's no division between the sacred and the secular. If you have been called to be an artist you are to pursue your art as your vocation, not think it's a higher calling to be a missionary and go overseas.

Q: How would a new emphasis on work affect Africans? They can begin to bring development to their own communities using their own resources. Pastor Luke from Nairobi went to one of our conferences and then went back to the people in his community, who were so poor they couldn't send many of their children to school. Pastor Luke said, "We need to start a school. We don't have any money." But he had six young people in his church who had been taught to read and write. He challenged them. They became teachers, teaching children in this slum to read and write. I visited the school two years after it started: 250 kids in this school were learning to read and write. And what did they start with? Time. These kids, these six teenagers, had time because they didn't have jobs. What else did they have? They could read and write. You begin with what you have.

Q: If young Americans want to think differently about work, how should they begin? Look at the whole of society and look at what God has put inside of you. What inflames your heart? Maybe what will inflame your heart can lead you to make lots of money, but money isn't the issue. It's the kingdom of God. He has called you not just to Christ but to advance His kingdom in the areas for which He has gifted you. So if you have a heart to be a lawyer, then pursue law, but not within the framework of, "This is about making money," but "How do I bring justice, real justice, into American life?" If you have a heart for art, how can you kingdom-ize that love, to bring beauty into this society, in little increments, for the advancement of the Kingdom of God?
To hear Marvin Olasky's interview with Darrow Miller, click here.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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