Created on Purpose for a Purpose
LAURA STORY, a contemporary Christian singer and composer, uses the phrase “the aching of this life” to describe the problems swirling about us in our world1. Anxiety, depression, burnout, isolation, discouragement and disenchantment, lostness—the list is endless.
The search for a solution ranges from substance abuse and suicide to abandonment of family and faith to the Great Resignation or constantly switching jobs, and more recently, “quiet-quitting”— just doing the minimum to get by and not get fired. Perhaps the cause and the solution are embedded in the word, purpose.
Just how important is purpose for our lives? Research has consistently linked purpose to heightened levels of emotional and mental well-being and overall life satisfaction. A Yale University
School of Medicine study linked individuals’ experiences with depression to a declining sense of purpose. Viktor Frankl, a holocaust survivor and psychiatrist, wrote, “Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on. He was soon lost.”
The Apostle Paul wrote, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” From the beginning, we were created with an innate need
for meaning and purpose in life. The STCH Ministries’ mission of “healing hearts and sharing hope” influenced the development of
Faith & Work, a curriculum that guides individuals to discover their God-given purpose, develop a vision for their future and acquire the tools to fulfill their goals. Faith & Work classes use a 10-week curriculum to focus on the critical intersections of work, values and a meaningful life purpose from a biblical perspective. Before time began, the eternal God planned to accomplish his purposes in Christ through us as we work. Work existed before the fall when all things were towb, the Hebrew word meaning excellent, pleasant and agreeable (Gen 1:22). God designed us to reflect his image in our ability to create, cultivate and care for our planet and the people who inhabit it.
Sin changed all aspects of God’s design; work that once produced abundance became “painful toil.” Even worse, sin broke our relationship with God and with others. The human companionship we need was infected with the “aching” of this life—anxiety, fear and shame. The resulting internal and external conflict changed how we work and why we work into burdensome
and unproductive toil.
How do we recover work that is good, pleasing and agreeable, even if those words do not describe our work environment? Dorothy Sayers challenged us to reject “the notion that a man’s life is divided into the time he spends on his work and the time he spends in serving God. He must be able to serve God in his work.” In Christians at Work, the Barna Group reported that the average Christian will spend 90,000 hours at work, and only 2,000 hours in church. When we understand the sacredness of work and discover our unique giftings, work becomes an expression of worship,
adding a holy purpose to any job.
Faith & Work classes use practical methods to examine our identity and the experiences that shaped us, good or bad, in light of biblical truth. Interactive tools help to highlight aspects of personality, spiritual gifts and core values that equip and motivate us in our labors. Equipped with such self-knowledge, we can dig into how to express our faith through teamwork, effective communication and overcoming challenges in the workplace. Finally, we look at specific ways to integrate faith and work so “people may see your good work and give glory to the Father” (Matthew 5:16).
When we see our job as an opportunity to accomplish God’s purpose in this world, it impacts the quality of our work, our relationships with co-workers and even our families. Faith & Work provides intrinsic motivation for how we work and serve others, found in the love of God expressed through Jesus.
Kevan Etheridge is an excellent example of how participants learn and grow as a result of Faith & Work. Kevan had a background in home remodeling, which prepared him for his role as Facilities Manager for The Warrior’s Refuge, a homeless shelter for military veterans. Through a Faith & Work class, Kevan came to incorporate faith in his day-to-day life and expanded his service to veterans. He took advantage of growth opportunities provided by his employer, becoming a specialist in equine therapy for PTSD victims. Now pursuing his certification as a licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, Kevan attributes the advances in his career and self-esteem to the concepts he learned in Faith & Work. Aware that God’s plan encompasses every part of his life—home, family, church and work—Kevan is thrilled at the prospects for his future and the blessings he has received.
STCH Ministries continues to expand how we offer both Faith & Work and Faith & Finances courses. A major advance has been translating all the course materials and teaching into Spanish, opening opportunities across Texas, the United States and internationally. In addition to in-person classes offered in the Corpus Christi, Houston and San Antonio areas, we also provide live Zoom and hybrid formats. Some exciting conversations are underway with potential ministry partners in the Rio Grande Valley and West Texas. We invite our readers to join us in praying for more great teachers to facilitate classes in English and Spanish as God opens new doors.
Millions of people are re-evaluating their relationship with work and seeking more meaningful lives. Faith & Work groups, under the direction of a trained facilitator, provide the opportunity for significant life change as individuals discover that they were created on purpose for God’s purposes. There is no better time for individuals, churches and community groups to take advantage of the Faith & Work courses provided by STCH Ministries.
For information and registration for future classes, please visit: www.STCHM.org/fw
1 “Blessings” on the album Blessings, Laura Story, 2011
2 “Why Work?” Letters to a Diminished Church, 1942, p.8. Christians at Work (2018), p.17.