My latest on work as holy war is up at TGR. I look at how service to others is the reason work is at the heart of the church’s holy war against Satan:
Work serves others both directly and indirectly. We provide a direct service to the customer, client or other immediate recipient of our work. And we indirectly serve our households (by bringing home a paycheck and in other ways) as well as bosses, coworkers and others who are affected. Ephesians 4:28 affirms both these forms of service, emphasizing that we must do something that provides direct service (“doing something useful”) but also identifying indirect service (the paycheck is “something to share with those in need”) as the purpose of the work. Indeed, the indirect service of the paycheck for the household is usually a stronger emphasis in Paul than the direct service.
Above all, service to others means service to God first, and service to our neighbor by serving God first:
I wouldn’t want to hinder spiritually marginal people from moving toward the kingdom by implying that service to neighbor is simply worthless on its own terms. As C.S. Lewis has wisely said, every road out of Jerusalem is also a road into Jerusalem. There are many who have discovered that service to Christ must come first after they initially strove only to serve their neighbors, and then followed that golden thread to its source.
But neither would I want to cut off the thread from its source. The gap between service to neighbor that is and is not service to God first is a difference of kind, not degree. One is lifted by the Spirit over the chasm between the kingdom of self and the kingdom of God, or else not. And every moment of every day on the job is another choice between kingdoms.
You can serve God and others by letting me know what you think!