A Crisis of Work

This week I sat and listened to a struggling unemployed young man who has basically given up hope on finding work. I also sat and listened to an upwardly mobile executive who is drowning in the weight of responsibilities on her shoulders at work.

We have a work crisis…check out these statistics:

…Only 33.7% of Americans are engaged at work
…13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work
…84% of Christians who are 18-29 years old have no idea how the Bible relates to their field or professional life
…10 million men in America are unemployed or have stopped looking for work altogether
…21% of American adults have no religious identity, up from 15% in 2008

Jeff Haanen (Founder and Executive Director of the Denver Institute for Faith & Work) says:  “We have two enormous problems facing us at work. One one side, we undervalue work. Gallup polls show that only 13 percent of employees worldwide are “engaged” in their jobs — that is, they are consistently emotionally invested in, and focused on creating value for, their organizations. 63 percent are not engaged and 24 percent are actively disengaged. Perhaps even more concerning is that the labor participation rate in America has steadily been dropping for the past 50 years. Today, about 10 million prime age men (25-54) are either unemployed or have dropped out of the workforce altogether — not even looking for work. Our attitudes about work have drifted significantly from historic ideas about calling. On the other side, many of the upwardly mobile nearly worship their work. It becomes our primary source of meaning and value – until one day our hearts tell us the pursuit of mere career success has left us spiritually empty.”

We have lost a healthy understanding of work, and specifically how our faith can and should influence our work. God calls us to engage our entire lives to the pursuit of the Kingdom of God, and that must necessarily include our work.

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