Kara Martin has wrestled with issues of faith and work for decades. Her new book Workship: How to Use Your Work to Worship God is a comprehensive and highly practical guide to integrating your faith and work. Kara shares some of the insights in her book.
Can you briefly explain why you wrote this book?
I have wrestled with issues around integrating faith and work for 30 years, so this book is a natural outflowing of all my teaching, speaking, preaching and writing. It is one of the first Australian books on this topic, one of the few written by a woman, and it deals with practical as well as theological issues.
How do you define ‘workship’?
Workship brings together two things we often treat as separate: work and worship. Workship also summarises the two approaches we can make to work. We can either worship our work, or we can use our work to worship God.
What are some of the main barriers that prevent Christians (women in particular) from integrating their faith and work?
Generally, we separate 'God's work' from secular work. However, if we see work as anything we do with purpose, we understand that all work can be 'God's work' if we do it with a desire to honour God and serve others.
Studies show that women tend to undervalue the work we do, whether paid or unpaid. We need affirmation that what we do is important to God in fulfilling his commands to steward his creation, to care for his creation, to fill the earth and to do all things for his glory (see Genesis 1:26–28 and 1 Corinthians 10:31). I also think that women tend to struggle to balance our lives, wanting to serve others before we take care of ourselves. We need to learn the spiritual discipline of resting from our work.
What is the main piece of advice you would give to women who are leading two separate lives: the work life and the faith life?
I had this experience in my first job as a TV journalist. I was overwhelmed by the ethical challenges and the challenging work culture. I felt there was ‘Christian Kara’ on Sunday and ‘Journalist Kara’ on Monday. I was literally disintegrating as a Christian. I joined some other Christian journalists and we talked through issues and prayed for each other, and we held each other accountable. They helped me develop a bigger vision for my vocation as a journalist: telling stories, treating people with dignity, revealing truth, inspiring people, exposing evil, demystifying pain and struggle.
So, my tips would be to read the Bible with fresh eyes, looking to see God the worker and how he works, and look for glimpses of him at work in your workplace. Also, share your work struggles with other Christians, so you have people praying for you. We need to see our workplace as our mission field, and we need prayer and support to be an effective witness for God there.
What are some key insights you want readers to take away from this book?
My book has three sections: a biblical theology of work to orient our minds, spiritual disciplines for work to shape our hearts, and some practical wisdom for work to inspire our hands. I hope people will be energised to honour God with their ordinary, daily work, giving people a glimpse of the Kingdom.
When can we expect the second volume of Workship to be released?
I have already written Volume 2, which includes some more practical wisdom for the workplace, as well as ideas for churches to better equip workplace Christians. However, the publisher is waiting to see how well Volume 1 sells, so I am hopeful the demand will continue to be strong ...
To find out more or to purchase a copy of Workship, go to workship.com.au
There are also copies of the book available for loan in the Mary Andrews College library.