I am reading a pretty heavy read right now, "Don't Waste Your Life" by John Piper. If you've ever read any John Piper you know his books require a lot of time and dedication to reading and understanding. So I've been reading this book for ages but it's so good. This is one point I feel like needs to be shared, and so I'm taking the time to paraphrase some things in this chapter for you. I hope it resonates with you and helps you.
Please note, he makes a point to say that some are called for "spiritual vocations" such as missionaries but that those people could not do their work without people in "secular vocations" working to support them. He does not at all have a condescending attitude towards secular work.
P.S. After writing this blog I have broken it into six parts so it's not as much heavy reading. Please read each different blog post, as it shouldn't take very long now that it's broken up. You can find Part 1 here. You can find Part 2 here.
3. We make much of Christ in our secular work when it confirms and enhances the portrait of Christ's glory that people hear in the spoken Gospel. There is no point in overstating the case for the value of secular work. It is not the Gospel. By itself, it does not save anyone. In fact, with no spoken words about Jesus Christ, our secular work will not awaken wonder for the glory of Christ. That is why the New Testament modestly calls our work an adornment of the Gospel. In other words, our work is not a beautiful woman, but a necklace on her. The beautiful woman is the Gospel. So one crucial meaning of our secular work is that the way we do it will increase or decrease the attractiveness of the Gospel we profess before unbelievers. Of course, the great assumption is that they know we are Christians. Thinking that our work will glorify God when people do not know we are Christians is like admiring an effective ad on TV that never mentions the product. People may be impressed but won't know what to buy.
"And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing." 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12. Good, honest work is not the saving Gospel of God, but a crooked Christian car salesmen is a blemish on the Gospel and puts a roadblock in the way of seeing the beauty of Christ. And sloth may be a greater stumbling block than crime. The biblical mandate is Colossians 3:23 - "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;". So we make much of God in our secular work by having such high standards of excellence and such integrity and such manifest goodwill that we put no obstacles in the way of the Gospel but rather call attention to the all-satisfying beauty of Christ. When we adorn the Gospel with our work, we are not wasting our lives.