For many people each Monday means going "back to work." And, "work" for multitudes means making money in order to live, to succeed, to acquire material possessions, perhaps to become known, to accomplish "dreams," and then to "retire."
Some so identify with the nature of their job, career, or profession that they become driven and defined by it. Their work becomes their being. Losing their unique personhood they isolate. "Success" can indeed become a cage or cell. Some grow cold and controlling. They do not permit themselves to interact and relate to people except for personal gain, for the good of the company, or beyond the point of asking, "And what do you do?"
The affluent and wealthy among us still speak of inner emptiness, a void, the lack of real meaning, satisfaction, or personal fulfillment. Many who might be rich lack peace and exhibit a drive or frustrated nature. They only know to strive for more, to work harder and longer hours.
Our day to day lives often leave us rather distant from God. The sheer pace of modern life makes it seem rather difficult to fit faith in. Lent is about each us entering into a time of Renewal. This year EEN has partnered with Tearfund, a UK Christian relief and development agency which works in over 50 countries, on their Carbon Fast. In the coming weeks we'll be exploring how renewing our relationship with God, with others, and with the Creation He made, ultimately leads to repentance and transformed lives.
For a follower of Jesus, the carpenter from Nazareth, the whole of our life is our "work." Seen in the light of the Hebraic scriptures, it is our appointed "ministry." Some are now terming this renewed understanding "LifeWork." In reality, ministry is the presence and release of Christ in all believers, in all settings and in all their affairs.
This integrated perspective has been eclipsed and mostly lost in this modern era. Most Christians think and live in a "duality." They divide labor and time as either being sacred or secular. Church ministry is spiritual and sacred " "holy." Planting trees or building a computer IT network, managing a MacDonald's, or serving up coffee at Starbucks is not "holy," and certainly not "ministry." Such work is seen as non-spiritual and secular. Only church-related activities and church ministries are spiritual and "holy." Wrong! The biblical worldview teaches that all of life is sacred and all things, unless defiled, are holy; all of life is ministry. That which is holy is simply that which is sanctified, set-aside unto God for his purposes"people, families, their occupations, even their tools and equipment.
As we start this Lenten season we invite you to walk with us as we work through the many thorns and weeds that often cloud our walk with Jesus. May this Lenten season be a time of deep personal renewal that helps cultivate a maturity and depth of faith in Christ Jesus!
Personal renewal often begins with reflection. Each week thematic "seed" scriptures are provided. You are encouraged to consider engaging in the Christian discipline of Lectio Divina, Latin for "divine reading." This practice of a "holy reading" arose during the first two centuries of Church life. A quiet and intentional reading of Scripture and "listening" is accompanied by prayer. The one reading hears God speaking in his Word, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart.
We pray that the joy of the Lord, which is our strength, will be released in your heart as you join in this observance. For a PDF copy of "Lent 2012 + Carbon Fast" click here.
The EEN Staff