What is Work For?

John Van Sloten penned some thoughts the other day on work, and particularly, the question of working for the common good. He finds that unsatisfactory. In contrast he wants to turn in another discussion

What I’m saying is that all of our good works must be born out of a more gracious starting point, from a place where we intimately know and experience the person of God. This can take place on the job, through those amazing, just-right, this-is-what-I’m-made-for, caught-up-in-the-flow vocational moments.

For want of a better term, this seems to be something of an aesthetic vision, an anchoring our work in worship as it were. However, that seems to be confusing what is meant by “work.” Why should it be restricted to the commercial, pay-for-effort variety? And should it be framed  in terms of co-working with God? Wouldn’t a better biblical metaphor be that of gifts? Some gifts are great and glorious (in worldly eyes), some not; some gifts are used well, some in mediocre fashion, etc.

And as to this business of working for the common good — isn’t that what Paul tells us to do (Gal 6:10)? It’s not a big thing, it’s looking, asking, helping. It’s my words, my hands, my effort that somehow in that, my neighbor sees something of God’s goodness peeking through.

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