Each Columbus Day week-end, the Alumni community from Redeemer’s Gotham Fellowship (a 9-month faith & work leadership development intensive offered by the Center for Faith & Work) gathers in Princeton, NJ. This year, 94 men and women (and 2 children!) working in diverse professions arrived from near and far (including Denver and London) to spend 2.5 days together at the historic Nassau Inn in downtown Princeton.
Our guest speaker Jim Skillen, former Executive Director of the Center for Public Justice, provoked the group with the following question: Are we maturing or just getting older? The cultural climate of today encourages us to think about how much we are achieving as we get older: how many of your own goals have you reached? Are you progressing up the ladder of your profession as you should? Are you properly saving for retirement? etc, etc.
But little of that leads us to ask whether we are maturing, becoming wiser, and more patient, able to serve those around us in ways that are really best for them. Hebrews 5-6 talks about the need for us to mature and not remain as children. What does real maturation mean for us as persons in relationship to others in all areas of life? What might it look like to grow in our vocations — as employees, employers, family members, and citizens?
To ask the question of maturation requires us to understand who we are as humans and how fully developed humanity is actually defined. Christianity posits that to know ourselves we must know God, as those made in his image and created to reveal his glory! If we ask the question, “What does Scripture tell us about who God is and who we are?,” we can tend to conclude: We are sinners; Christ is Savior. And while this sin-salvation is narrative is essential to God’s redemptive plan, this conclusion is an abridged version of the fuller story unfolding, the story that begins in creation and ends in new creation.
It is in this larger narrative that we discover a new purpose for our work, and can put it in its proper place, as the expression of our humanity and not the source of our identity. We see that we were created to be revelatory of God with our whole selves, and that the redemptive work of Christ restores us to the task of being fully human, working towards the reconciliation, renewal, and fulfillment that He is going about doing.
To mature in our work, therefore, means that we must grow in discernment, discerning good from evil in every sphere of life, seeking to push back the evil and enhance and flourish the good. To do our jobs well, then, means to seek the knowledge of God as it is being revealed in every part of creation. We are to fulfill our responsibilities in a way that brings glory and honor to Him, and allows a fuller expression of His love to be revealed to all of creation.
While the implications of these grand truths can certainly not be worked out in the course of a weekend retreat, it is our hope that this annual gathering will continue to serve as a place where the Gotham Alumni community might be renewed by God’s Spirit and reinvigorated and spurred on to do the good work God is already preparing ahead of time for each to do.