At the beginning of Chapter 2 (“The Dignity of Work”) of Every Good Endeavor, Timothy Keller states that the idea that work is a major component of human dignity is espoused by even the most secular thinking. Write Ayn Rand put it this way in her book Atlas Shrugged:
“Whether it’s a symphony or a coal mine, all work is an act of creating and comes from the same source . . . the capacity to see, to connect and to make what had not been seen, connected and made before.”
In contrast, the ancient Greeks understood that while work was a necessity, not all work was created equal. Intellectual forms of work were far superior to manual labor. Those “ideals” created a set of pervasive ideas that hold a great deal of influence in our modern culture. Pastor Keller notes 3 such influences:
1. Work is a necessary evil and its major purpose is to help us make money to support our families.
2. Low-status or low-paying jobs assault our dignity. One consequence of this belief is that people choose careers based on the promise of higher wages and prestige, rather than choosing a career that fits their gifts.
3. Unemployment becomes preferable to taking “menial” work that is beneath one’s dignity.
Tomorrow’s blog: “All work has dignity”
Note: A new Short Meditation will post this coming Tuesday- “We’re in good hands with . . . Jesus”