In 450-500, provide a brief statement of a biblical approach to work based on course readings and class discussion. An effective summary will not simply be various phrases copied and pasted from materials. An effective statement should provide a succinct but thorough summation of your readings and findings.
In the same discussion, in 250-300 words, apply this material to your own life. You may be a full-time or part-time employee, a stay-at-home parent, or a student. Whatever your situation, these materials can be applied to your life. Take the principles discussed in your summary and apply them to your life. Have these materials changed your perspective on your work? What aspects of a biblical understanding of work are you already putting in practice? What areas could you change or improve?
23 to 25 points
Entry is long enough, has a high standard of writing quality with no grammatical or other writing errors.
20 to 22 points
Entry is long enough; no more than 2 grammatical or other writing errors.
17 to 19 points
Entry is not long enough or there are 3-5 grammatical or other writing errors.
0 to 16 points
Entry is not long enough or there are more than 5 grammatical or other writing errors.
23 to 25 points
Entry provides an exceptionally clear, concise and thoughtful statement. Student demonstrates exceptional understanding of the material.
20 to 22 points
Entry provides a clear, concise and thoughtful statement. Student demonstrates adequate understanding of the material.
17 to 19 points
Entry provides an effective statement but is missing key elements from the material. Student demonstrates understanding of the material.
0 to 16 points
Entry rarely relates to topics covered in the book. Student fails to demonstrate understanding of the material.
45 to 50 points
Entry offers unique, thoughtful, and well-informed insights and perspectives on material. Entry thoroughly interacts and applies materials.
40 to 44 points
Entry offers thoughtful and informed insights and perspectives on material. Entry interacts and applies materials.
34 to 39 points
Entry offers some insights on the material, but is based more on feelings and vague opinion than thoughtful perspectives in response to the materials.
0 to 33 points
Entry involves little or no thoughtful interaction with the materials.
Emotionally Healthy Discipleship ( https://www.emotionallyhealthy.org)
10 REASONS SABBATH IS CORE TO LEADERSHIP
Practicing Sabbath, much like prayer or reading the Bible, doesn’t save us. We are saved by Jesus alone. But if we are not routinely reading Scripture or praying, it is unlikely we are growing much spiritually. Keeping Sabbath is a core spiritual practice – an essential means God uses to slow us down and mature us.
In this podcast, I expound on ten core reasons Sabbath is so indispensable for us who lead in Jesus’ name:
1. Sabbath is something God did, and being made in his image, we are created to do it as well.
2. Sabbath was built into the DNA of the creation.
3. Sabbath time is set apart as “holy” within God’s creation of a 7-day week.
4. Sabbath helps us embrace our humanity, vulnerability, limits and finiteness.
5. Sabbath protects us from doing violence to ourselves. It doesn’t save our souls, but it saves our lives.
6. Sabbath reminds us God’s world is good, offering a preview of an unimaginable world to come.
7. Sabbath defeats the powers and principalities that define us by our work.
8. Sabbath offers a lived experience of God’s grace and love in the gospel.
9. Sabbath breaks our addiction to doing, making, producing and accomplishing.
10. Sabbath is one of the ways we are a sign and wonder that point people to Jesus.
I pray this stimulates you to take your first steps towards practicing Sabbath and/or deepens your experience with this wonderful gift from God.
4 STEPS TO A MEANINGFUL SABBATH
All work — paid and unpaid — is good, but it needs to be boundaried by the practice of Sabbath. The problem with too many leaders is that we allow our work to trespass on every other area of life, disrupting the balanced rhythm of work and rest God created for our good.
Sabbath is a twenty-four-hour block of time in which we stop work, enjoyrest, practice delight, and contemplate God.
1. Stop. Sabbath is first and foremost a day when we cease all work — paid and unpaid. On the Sabbath we embrace our limits. We let go of the illusion that we are indispensable to the running of the world. We recognize we will never finish all our goals and projects, and that God is on the throne, managing quite well in ruling the universe without our help.
2. Rest. Once we stop, we accept God’s invitation to rest. God rested after his work of creation. Every seventh day, we are to do the same (Genesis 2:1 – 4). We engage in activities that restore and replenish us — from napping, hiking, reading, and eating good food to enjoying hobbies and playing sports.
Resting from unpaid work, however, requires advance planning. If I am to have any hope of enjoying a Sabbath rest, I need to set aside time during the week to attend to the routine tasks of life I won’t do on Sabbath — paying bills, cleaning or fixing something around the house, etc.
3. Delight. After finishing his work in creation, God pronounced it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). This was not an anemic afterthought — Oh, well, it’s nice to be done with that — but a joyful recognition and celebration of accomplishment. As part of observing Sabbath, God invites us to join in the celebration, to enjoy and delight in his creation and all the gifts he offers us in it. These innumerable gifts come to us in many forms, including people, places, and things. As part of preparing to practice the Sabbath, one of the most important questions to consider is, “What gives me joy and delight?” This will differ for each of us, but part of the Sabbath invitation is to enjoy and delight in creation and her gifts. Geri and I both delight in the beauty and grandeur of nature — the ocean, lakes, beaches, mountains, and star-filled skies. Geri is a “foodie,” so tasting, smelling, and savoring the gift of food is a high priority for us. I delight in libraries and bookstores. Geri loves cooking a fresh meal. Through any and every means possible, on Sabbath we seek to feast on the miracle of life with our senses.
4. Contemplate. Pondering the love of God is the central focus of our Sabbaths. What makes a Sabbath a biblical Sabbath is that it is “holy to the Lord.” We are not taking time off from God; we are drawing closer to him. Sabbath is an invitation to see the invisible in the visible — to recognize the hidden ways God’s goodness is at work in our lives. It does not mean we necessarily spend the entire day in prayer or studying Scripture, though those activities may be part of a Sabbath day. Instead, contemplation means we are acutely focused on those aspects of God’s love that come to us through so many gifts from his hand. Scripture affirms that all creation declares his glory (see Psalm 19:1). On Sabbath, we intentionally look for his grandeur in everything from people, food, and art to babies, sports, hobbies, and music. In this sense, contemplation is an extension of delight — we are intentional about looking for the evidence of God’s love in all of the things he has given us to enjoy.
I hope these four characteristics will provide a helpful framework as you begin to consider what it might mean for you to practice a meaningful observance of Sabbath, but if you ever find yourself getting too caught up in the details and logistics — which is easy to do — I encourage you to take a step back. Refocus your attention on the larger significance of Sabbath — the opportunity to experience a foretaste of eternity. As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote:
Unless one learns how to relish the taste of Sabbath while still in this world, unless one is initiated in the appreciation of eternal life, one will be unable to enjoy the taste of eternity in the world to come… The essence of the world to come is Sabbath eternal, and the seventh day in time is an example of eternity.
Proverbs and Work Theology of Work Bible Commentary
The Theology of Work Project answers the question "What does the Bible say about work?" by producing Bible commentary, topical articles, and audio/video resources that examine faith and work from a Christian perspective. The Bible and work are meticulously analyzed in our commentary, and lessons are driven home through case studies and videos. All of this material on faith and work is available for free on theologyofwork.org
The Theology of Work Project is an independent, international organization dedicated to researching, writing, and distributing materials with a biblical perspective on non-church workplaces. We collaborate with other faith and work organizations, universities and seminaries to help equip workplace Christians for meaningful and fruitful work of every kind.
The central concern of the book is the call to live life in awe of God. This call opens the book (Prov. 1:7), pervades it (Prov. 9:10), and brings it to a close (Prov. 31:30). The proverbs tell us that good work habits generally lead to prosperity, and that work habits grow out of character, and that character is formed by our awe of God. Indeed the fear of the Lord and wisdom are directly equated. “You will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Prov. 2:5–6).
The proverbs, in other words, are intended to form God’s (or godly) character in those who read them… Godly character—that is, wisdom—is essential in all of life, including work. A glance over the proverbs demonstrates that the book has much to contribute to work. Many of the proverbs speak directly about the workplace activities of the ancient near east, including agriculture, animal husbandry, textile and clothing manufacture, trade, transportation, military affairs, governance, courts of law, home making, raising children, education, construction and others. Money—which is closely related to work—is also a prominent topic. Many other proverbs cover topics that apply significantly to work, such as prudence, honesty, justice, insight and good relationships.
The Valiant Woman (Proverbs 31:10-31) A remarkable connection between the book of Proverbs and the world of work occurs at the end of the book. Lady Wisdom, who we meet at the beginning of the book (Prov. 1:20-33, 8:1-9:12), reappears in street clothes in the final 22 verses of the book (Prov.31:10-31) as a living, breathing woman, termed “the virtuous woman” (KJV). Some translators use “wife” instead of “woman,” probably because the woman’s husband and children are mentioned in the passage. (Both “wife” and “woman” are possible translations of the Hebrew ishshah.) Indeed, she finds fulfillment in her family and ensures that “her husband is known in the city gates, taking his seat among the elders of the land” (Prov. 31:23). But the text focuses on the woman’s work as an entrepreneur with a cottage industry and its servants/workers to manage (Prov. 31:15).
Proverbs 31:10-31 does not merely apply to the workplace; it takes place in a workplace. The book of Proverbs is summarized, then, in a poem praising a woman who is the wise manager of diverse enterprises ranging from weaving to wine making to trade in the market. Translators variously use the words “virtuous” (KJV), “capable” (NRSV), “excellent” (NASB), or “of noble character” (NIV) to
describe this woman’s character in Prov. 31:10. But these terms fail to capture the element of strength or might present in the underlying Hebrew word (chayil). When applied to a man, this same term is translated “strength,” as in Prov. 31:3. In a great majority of its 246 appearances in the Old Testament, it applies to fighting men (e.g., David’s “mighty warriors,” 1 Chronicles 7:2). Translators tend to downplay the element of strength when the word is applied to a woman, as with Ruth, whom English translations describe as “noble” (NIV, TNIV), “virtuous” (NRSV, KJV) or “excellent” (NASB). But the word is the same, whether applied to men or women. In describing the woman of Proverbs 31:10-31, its meaning is best understood as strong or valiant, as further indicated by Prov. 31:17, “She girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong.” Al Wolters argues on account of such martial language that the most appropriate translation is “Valiant Woman.”
Accordingly, we will refer to the woman of Proverbs 31:10-31 as the “Valiant Woman,” which captures both the strength and the virtue carried by the Hebrew chayil.
The concluding passage in the book of Proverbs characterizes this woman of strength as a wise worker in five sets of practices in her workplace. The high importance of this section is signaled in two ways. First, it is in the form of an acrostic poem, meaning that its lines begin with the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, in order, making it memorable. Second, it is placed as the climax and summary of the entire book. Accordingly, the five sets of practices we observe in the Valiant Woman will serve as a framework for exploring the entire book.
To some people in the ancient near east, and even to some now, portraying a woman as a model of wise entrepreneurship would be surprising. Despite the fact that God gave the gift of work to men and women equally (Genesis 1 and 2), women’s work has often been denigrated and treated with less dignity than men’s. Following the example of the book, we will refer to this wise worker as she, understanding that God's wisdom is available equally to men and women. She functions in the book as an affirmation of the dignity of every person’s work
As always in the book of Proverbs, the way of wisdom flows out of the fear of the Lord. After all the Valiant Woman’s abilities and virtues are described and honored, the source of her wisdom is revealed. “A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Prov. 31:30).
THE WISE WORKER IS TRUSTWORTHY (PROVERBS)
The first characteristic of the way of wisdom personified in the Valiant Woman is trustworthiness. “The heart of her husband trusts in her” (Prov. 31:11). Trustworthiness is the foundation of wisdom and virtue. God created people to work in concert with each other (Genesis 2:15), and without trust this is not possible. Trust requires adherence to ethical principles beginning with faithfulness in our relationships. What are the workplace implications of being trustworthy depicted in the book of Proverbs?
A TRUSTWORTHY WORKER IS FAITHFUL TO HIS OR HER FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITIES (PROVERBS)
The first requirement of trustworthiness is that our work brings good to those who trust us. The Valiant Woman works not only for herself, but also for the benefit of those around her. Her work benefits her customers (Prov. 31:14), her community, (Prov. 31:20), her immediate family (Prov. 31:12, 28), and her co-workers (Prov. 31:15). In the economy of the Ancient Near East, these spheres of responsibility all come
together in the economic entity called “the household.” As in much of the world today, most people then worked in the same place they lived. Some household members worked as cooks, cleaners, caregivers, or artisans of fabric, metal, wood and stone in rooms in the home itself. Others worked in the fields immediately outside as farmers, shepherds or laborers. The “household” refers to the whole complex of productive enterprises as well as to the extended family, employed workers and, perhaps, slaves who worked and lived there. As the manager of a household, the Valiant Woman is much like a modern-day entrepreneur or senior executive. When she “looks well to the ways of her household” (Prov. 31:27), she is fulfilling a fiduciary duty of trust to all those who depend on her enterprise.
This does not mean we cannot work for own benefit as well. The Valiant Woman’s duty to her household is reciprocated by its duty to her. It is proper for her to receive a share of the household’s profit for her own use. The passage instructs her children and her husband and the whole community to honor and praise her. “Her children rise up and call her happy; her husband too, and he praises her…. Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates” (Prov. 31:28, 31).
Our fiduciary duty requires that we must not do our employers harm in the pursuit of meeting our own needs. We may dispute with them or struggle against their treatment of us, but we may not work them harm. For example, we may not steal from (Prov. 29:24), vandalize (Prov. 18:9) or slander (Prov. 10:18) our employers in order to air our grievances. Some applications of this are obvious. We may not charge a client for hours we didn’t actually work. We may not destroy our employers’ property or falsely accuse them. Reflection on this principle may lead us to deeper implications and questions. Is it legitimate to cause damage to the organization’s productivity or harmony by failing to assist our internal rivals? Is access to personal benefits—trips, prizes, free merchandise and the like—leading us to steer business to certain suppliers at the expense of our employer’s best interests? The mutual duty that employees and employers owe each other is a serious matter.
The same duty applies to organizations when they have a fiduciary duty to other organizations. It is legitimate for a company to negotiate with its customers to obtain a higher price. But it is not legitimate to profit by taking secret advantage of a customer, as several investment banks were found to have done when they instructed their representatives to recommend collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs) to customers as solid investments, while at the same time selling CMOs short in the expectation their value would fall.
The fear of the Lord is the touchstone of fiduciary responsibility. “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil” (Prov. 3:7). All people are tempted to serve themselves at the expense of others. That is the consequence of the Fall. However, this proverb tells us that fear of the Lord— remembering his goodness to us, his providence over all things, and his justice when we harm others— helps us fulfill our duty to others.
A TRUSTWORTHY WORKER IS HONEST (PROVERBS)
Honesty is another essential aspect of trustworthiness. It is so important that one proverb equates truth with wisdom itself. “Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding” (Prov. 23:23). Honesty consists both in telling the truth and in doing the truth.