So those who were engaged in the work labored, and the repairing went forward at their hands, and they restored the house of God to its proper condition and strengthened it. —2 Chronicles 24:13
None of us has mastered every skill. We rely on trained people to build our homes, diagnose our illnesses, farm our food, and perform myriad other tasks that sustain us. Likewise people rely on us for our expertise—whether or not we are paid for it in the marketplace or appreciated for it in our family or volunteer roles. This practice existed long before Adam Smith labeled it “division of labor” in The Wealth of Nations. For millennia trade has allowed both individuals and communities to thrive.
It works because God designed it that way.
God gave each of us specific skills. The New Testament outlines a theology of giftedness not limited to academic prowess, but giftedness more broadly, encompassing our whole selves—physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual. Employing our gifts is the work that God grants us.
Like the Israelites of I Chronicles we are God’s people laboring to restore the house of the Lord. They built a physical temple. Today God’s house is still a physical space—the footprint of Kenilworth Union that we visit each Sunday—but it’s also metaphorical. It’s our local community where teens struggle with anxiety and depression. It’s the city of Chicago where the life expectancy in Englewood is thirty years lower than in Streeterville. It’s our United States, divided by vitriolic speech that propagates hate.
We all have a role in restoring and strengthening God’s house no matter our paid or unpaid vocation. Kindness and empathy are simple places to start, wherever we are, and whatever we do. God has more in store for us, though. Allow God to use your uniqueness to build the kingdom.
Prayer: Lord, let my work restore your house.