The Bridge Chicago is a way to offer the resources of Mission:USA to help people do good ministry.
We live in a work-saturated, you-can-do-it-if-you-try-hard-enough culture. (I am speaking strictly in secular terms, not on salvation). To master any skill or task or project, one must work extremely hard. My question is, for Christians how much of this hard-work mentally do we absorb and perform and how much do we reject? Sometimes, I just don’t see how studying hard for the SAT or GRE in order to go to a good university can be glorifying to God instead of just myself.
I agree that the whole protestant work ethic thing has been made an idol by a lot of Christians. The flip side is that complacency is not a Christian value either. So working hard is not the problem, the problem lies in what some people put that work into and why.
Colossians 3:23-24 says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” So when you are working towards something, you should work hard at it. But, there are only so many hours in the day and so much energy we have. So you need to be discerning about what you take on.
The issue isn’t really about work ethic, it is about priorities. Take your GRE example: if you feel called by God into a job that requires a graduate degree (social work, education, whatever, you can serve the Lord in any job), then doing well on the GRE is part of that. If, however, you are only taking it to fulfill the plan your parents have for you, or to make the maximum income possible, or to have the highest GRE score among your friends, then that is not about your calling with God.
So two people could put in the exact same study hours on the test and, because of different motivations, one could be pursuing a closer relationship with the Lord and the other getting further away. It is not that one particular action is glorifying to God, it is that pursuing your own calling with the gifts God has given you is glorifying to Him.
-Matt from The Bridge