S8E7: Katherine Leary Alsdorf on Loving Our Neighbors Through Work
What can the Bible teach us about work? And how can work be a way that we love our co-workers, friends, family, and neighbors? Katherine Leary Alsdorf, co-author of Every Good Endeavor, shares insights on loving our neighbor through our work from her decades in the private sector and founding the Center for Faith & Work.
On work losing its excitement:
“I started expect too much from my work. I began to see work as the maker of my identity. It became how people would see me. It would give me the means to create the image and the lifestyle that would be my identity.”
On seeing work through a Biblical lens:
“When we think through the biblical story that we’re a part of, we can begin to see work in a different light. We can recover some of its original intent. Work is a way to love our neighbors. Our work doesn’t have to define us. Furthermore, it doesn’t even have to enslave us. Just by looking at God’s plan for work we can see there’s a lot to do. And secondly, we can see he gave us agency to do it.”
On extending agency to others:
“We’ve got this cultural mandate to act on [God’s] behalf as a cultivator and steward of his world. But he actually didn’t and doesn’t need us. God could have easily named the animals by himself. He could have built all the machines to build our roads. He could have even spoken a word and our glorious cities would have been created. He gave that creative opportunity to us. So first of all, I’m grateful for that agency. But secondly, as someone made in his image seeking God’s patterns for work, I believe that I’m supposed to extend that agency to others that I work with.”
On loving our neighbors:
“In my own strength, I don’t have that much love. I don’t have it in me. It’s only when God’s love is flowing through me; it’s not in my power, it’s only in his. But if we spend time with him, if we confess to him, if we learn about him, we can receive his love that then enables us to love our neighbor.”
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