In one of the most comprehensive books on the subject, Darrow Miller’s LifeWork seeks to help Christians to reconnect their lives and their work to the advancement of God’s kingdom. His approach is to develop a biblical worldview that enables us to understand our work in terms of calling and vocation – transforming our lives and work into what he calls our ‘lifework’, the relationship of one’s life to God and the unfolding of his kingdom.
Miller sets the scene by exploring two dominant worldviews and their implications of the view of work. He shows how in the West, dualism birthed from a secular worldview, divides work and worship, while in the developing world, fatalism birthed from an animistic worldview removes meaning and purpose from work.
He then walks us through how different eras of human history and thought have shaped our view of work, from Gnosticism which was the bane of the early church to monasticism, The Reformation, pietism, The Enlightenment, The Great Awakening, and finally, the modern era and the rise of secularism.
On his way to setting out a biblical approach to work, Miller critiques the modern evangelical church’s response to the impoverishment of the animistic worldview and the self-centred consumerism of secularism – being largely to abandon public life and culture on the one hand and to settle for a version of dualism on the other.
Miller then turns the corner and paints a picture of biblical Christian engagement through an understanding of the biblical mandate to create culture in line with the kingdom of God. He explores the implications of such cultural engagement in several ‘domains’ of society, such as government, the economy, art, science, and education – providing in each case, examples from Christians in these industries.
He closes with a reminder that the church is not a building or institution, nor is she defined by her ecclesiastical structure and polity, but rather, the church is an incarnational community – living as Christ would in a broken world. This book is for those who are ready to take their understanding of faith and work to the next level. It will challenge you to think deeper about how you spend your nine-to-five.
Reviewed by Sibs Sibanda