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Lester DeKoster (1916-2009) was director of the Calvin College and Seminary library, editor of The Banner, and author of numerous books, including Communism & Christian Faith and Light for the City: Calvin's Preaching, Source of Life and Liberty.
This week someone asked me, "what motivates you?" It's an interesting question, and one that deserves a better answer than the one I gave at the moment it was asked -- but I was in a hurry out the door to catch a flight, without the moments needed to really think about it. The question is not only valid for me, personally, but for all Christians.
This book attempts to put a framework around the motivation to work from a Christian perspective. The most interesting thing about this book, however, is not that the author tries to frame the question of what should motivate Christians to work, but rather the answer the author gives.
Work, for DeKoster, is service to God.
The author begins by defining work as those things we do for the good of others. Paychecks are fine, he says, but caring for others by taking care of their needs is the real root of work. To back this claim up, he works through the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31), and the parable of the ten coins invested (or not). All the way from Genesis to Revelation, work is shown as something of value, as serving others, even as serving God (Adam and Eve were put in the Garden to work).
On this foundation he lays several very interesting conclusions. First, that work is the "chisel with which you carve yourself." That work not only adds value to others, it also adds value to you in the process. By looking outside yourself to see how you can serve others, you are actually building a Godly character. Second he argues that work is the difference between civilization and barbarism, between a solid economy and a weak one. I can think of no greater lesson our society needs to learn right this moment.
It's not about who's rich, and who's poor, it's about who works.Read more ›
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What we do during the week is just as important as what we do when we worship God on Sunday. On Sunday we must not just attend service but show our heartfelt love for God - if we want our worship to be acceptable to him. Likewise, during the week we must show our love for our neighbor by putting their interests above ours. We have our best opportunities to do so when traveling to or from or during work at the office or back at home. The author's focus is on work at the office but we can apply the same message to our "work" in and around the home. I thank author for showing us how to bring Christ's love to others all the time and wherever we are.
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