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Why work?

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, amen!

Dorothy Sayers, a scholar, writer, artist and friend of CS Lewis, addressed her comments to a slowly dying secular culture in formerly Christian England: Letters to a Diminished Church.

Her essay, "Why Work?" asks the deeper question of why we work: not just for money, or for economic stimulation, or for something to do.

Certainly, many people work for two bad reasons: avarice (greed) and envy.

Our cultural mindset is that work is something you do (begrudgingly) in order to make money.

We work to keep the engine of cultural consumption going.

This, she argues, is a pagan understanding of work. We need to baptize our minds and our jobs. Work is “a way of life in which the nature of man should find its proper exercise and delight and so fulfill itself to the glory of God.”

Work is not primarily a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do.

We should approach work much in the way we currently approach only our hobbies: doing them well for its own sake, for love, for the joy of the journey rather than merely the product (or paycheck).

Even so called secular work is sacred because God calls each of us to our roles. “The very first demand that [a carpenter’s] religion makes upon him is that he should make good tables.” She goes further to say: “ The only Christian work is good work well done."

As teachers, we want to do our work well for God's sake, not just "for the community." And we want to teach our students to do their proper work, studying, writing, reading, sports, socializing, in the light of Christ -- for God's sake and by God's help.

Thus we baptize the educational process and make our bodies a living sacrifice.

Glory to God for all things!

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