The other day, while reading Culture Making for one of my classes, I came across a quote that I can’t quite get out of my head: “The world needs less philosophers and more plumbers!”
I guess to help you make sense of the quote, I should give some background on the book…
The author, Andy Crouch, uses this book to make a point about culture. He says the only way to actually affect culture is by creating your own. So, instead of conforming and consuming, he calls us to “create and cultivate” our own portions of culture.
I could grab my soap box, but I will save that for another day. Instead I will tell you to check out the book for further information, and I’ll go back to the quote I started with.
In the context of the book, I understand Crouch’s point when he uses this line. He believes this world needs fewer thinkers and more doers: culture creators. Instead of so many people sitting around philosophizing about why the toilet broke and what factors may have caused this incident, he calls for more people to go out and fix the thing!
How do you view philosophers? Pipe in mouth, expensive clothes, sitting around using big words? Now what about a plumber? Maybe overalls, dirty, cussing as he kicks the toilet, and we can’t forget that notorious clothing shortage when he bends over.
I’ll admit those were very stereotypical views, but you get my point. Still, I’ll assume these jobs are on opposite ends of your internal social class spectrum.
But why? Have you really ever asked yourself that? What makes a man who uses his hands less than a man who uses his brain? What if there weren’t plumbers? Could you do their job?
Ok, it may seem like I am the daughter of a shunned plumber, seeking revenge for his life of ridicule—but I’m not. I just want to make you think about how each job is important…AND can be God-glorifying.
My first college major change happened after my first semester; going in with a strong desire to be involved in youth ministry, I decided my calling was elsewhere. I changed to a Communication Arts degree, not really knowing anything more about it than the fact that talking was a form of communication, and I liked to talk, so why not?!
Anyway, I remember telling my 90-something great-grandmother about this decision. With great disappointment in her eyes, that godly woman shook her head and sadly asked, “So, you’re not going to do the Lord’s work anymore?”
I froze. Upset.
I was eager to prove that God’s work could be done in – here it comes, the Kuyper (Reformed theologian) reference –“every square inch.” Every job (ok, almost all…) can be used to honor God. We may not all be called to direct positions like ordained pastors or overseas missionaries, but that doesn’t mean our job cannot be used as a ministry. God has called all of us to very different vocations, but He can do His Kingdom work through us no matter what we are doing. We just need to constantly be open and willing to let God use us wherever we are.
And for me, right now that means praying “God use me” as I am a full-time student and work evenings in a little coffee shop, awaiting my post-grad release into the “real world.” I may not be working an 8-5, but what I am doing now is still important as I can still be a steward of my time and resources.
So, whether you are a heart surgeon or have had your one-hit-wonder co-starring Mike Rowe, just do it with diligence.