Why work? It’s a simple, yet complex question. For a paycheck? To keep a roof over our heads and the creditors out?

Last week CBS News had a series on Mom’s returning to the work force, called Moms ‘Sequence’ Back To Work. The backdrop is women, after a few years nurturing young children are returning to the workforce. The mothers they interviewed, mostly professional, highly educated sorts, had what would be considered very unusual perspectives on work for most of our history. Most mothers interviewed were reentering the workforce out of boredom as much as anything.

“It just needs to be interesting and challenging and compensate me enough to cover the babysitter,” said one of the mothers.

Is this a proper perspective on work? I don’t think so in a general sense (no way I can comment on this one woman’s unique prepackaged). One of the great failings of American culture and most specifically the conservative church is articulating a sound view of vocation and work. We do enjoy the benefits of the Protestant work ethic, though I doubt many could name what it is.

Good work (as opposed to good works) should include:

  1. Serving God and the community
  2. All occupations can have spiritual dignity, if they can be done with a heart aimed at honoring God with talents given by Him
  3. Work diligently to achieve maximum profits
  4. Associate success in work with God’s blessing AND an obligation to grow in vocation and give back

I am not sure if a mother returning to the work force looking for something interesting to do with enough margin to cover the babysitter was in the minds of the early Protestants. We live in an age of extreme luxury in this nation. I will periodically post on the greatly ignored subject of vocation from time to time; for I think a solid appreciation of what work is for has been lost in our culture.