West indian culture

The Need to Cultivate Work Ethics and Culture | MorungExpress


Father Vemedo J Kezo

Work is through which we find our fulfillment and our self-realization. It is in this process that we humanize and become more human as well. Through work, human beings earn their daily bread and contribute to the continuous development and progress of society. In doing so, they raise the cultural and moral level of the society in which they live. By the term work, we mean any activity of man, whether manual or intellectual, in which he devotes himself for his subsistence. It means any human activity that can and should be recognized as work, for all the many activities that humans can do. The Bible gives specific direction and clarity on the involvement of work and the dignity associated with it. This work therefore examines the work ethic and morality of work culture, in the context of Naga society which prides itself on being a Christian and missionary state.

In the Bible, the human being is made to be in the visible universe an image and a likeness of God himself. They are placed to subdue the earth and be the custodian of the earth (Genesis 1:27-29). God commands Adam and Eve to tend the garden, to cultivate it for their sustenance (Genesis 2:15). Right from the start, therefore, he is called to work. This work has become one of the characteristics that distinguish human beings from the rest of creatures.

We find our conviction in the very first pages of the book of Genesis, source of our inspiration, that work is a fundamental dimension of human existence. From the Gospel of John, we see the urgency of Jesus in his ministry. That as his heavenly Father works, he too must work (John 5:16). Before he preaches the public ministry, Jesus helped his parents with the upkeep of his family. The Bible is silent on the first part of life, because it is not the intention of the Bible although to highlight the socio-historical dimension per se, however, it does highlight, insofar as the divine concretely meets humanity. Acts 18:3 gives the profession of Saint Paul. Apart from his preaching work, Paul is a tentmaker in order to earn a living and not be a burden on others. No wonder he speaks strongly to the Thessalonians about work. He goes on to say that one should not eat if he is not working. We should only eat what we earn. “We never accept food from anyone without paying; no, we have labored with unremitting energy, night and day, so as not to be a burden to any of you” verse 7-8. (2 Thessalonians 3:7-8, 10, 12¬). Today we want to pay and do a minimum of work at the expense of the public treasury. The Bible is crystal clear on the matter of earning and eating.

By expanding certain aspects that belonged to the Old Testament, Christianity brought about a fundamental change of ideas in this area. Taking as a starting point the whole content of the Gospel message, when Jesus, like us in all things, devoted most of the years of his earthly life to manual labor at the carpenter’s workbench. This circumstance constitutes the most eloquent “gospel of work”, showing that the basis for determining the value of human labor is not primarily the type of work done but the fact that the doer is a person. The sources of the dignity of work are to be sought above all in the subjective dimension and not in the objective dimension. This means that any type of work that generates income for human survival is worthy of its name and calls for deeper involvement in human development which can be at the personal level and at the social level as well. It is the biblical injunction that every sensible Christian needs to take his responsibility seriously and act consciously for the development of human society. All work is worthy of its name whether we are in white color work, blue color work or any type of professional work.

It is precisely this fundamental affirmation about work that has always arisen from the richness of Christian truth, in particular from the very message of the “gospel of work”. It gives us the basis for a new way of thinking, judging, acting and relating to each other without having snobbish attitudes or insular perspectives.

Staying within the framework of the biblical injunction to work, it is now appropriate to address, at least briefly, certain problems which more narrowly define the work ethic and the dignity of human work. By reaffirming them, we may be able to better characterize its specific moral value. In doing so, we must always keep in mind the biblical call to “subdue the earth”, in which the Creator’s will is expressed that work enables man/woman to reach his end in the world. visible which is proper to him/her.

God’s original intention for man/woman, whom He created in His image and likeness, was not to withdraw from the world and live in an isolated world without much sweat, but to man/woman must work, and of his/her sweat he/she will eat bread. Without this consideration, it is impossible to understand the meaning of work ethics and culture. It is also impossible, without this premise, to understand why the culture of work should be a virtue: for virtue, as a moral habit, is something by which a man/woman becomes good as a man. /woman and attains her superior faculties. It is by activating our higher faculties that we minimize our animal instincts and gradually work for society by working for ourselves and working for a living. Therefore, by having a positive attitude at work, we cultivate the virtue of being humane and sane. The normal tendency in all of us to eat without working but it goes against the very nature of our existence in the biblical sense.

We can also argue that work is a fundamental dimension of man’s existence on earth. Because the whole heritage of the multiple sciences devoted to man: anthropology, paleontology, history, sociology, psychology, etc. ; they all seem to testify to this fact in an irrefutable way. But the source of this conviction is above all the revealed Word of God, and therefore, what is a conviction of the intellect is also a conviction of faith and what is the conviction of faith must be expressed concretely for the good. of the society.

From the Bible’s perspective, work is the foundation of human existence. And this human existence involves the holistic dimension of the human being – spiritual, physical, intellectual and emotional. It is God’s command and will that we work and earn for daily bread. It requires a sincere commitment to any assigned work. It is the basis of the work ethic and culture without which no society can develop and what is ironic is that a Christian state like ours has become the least progressive state in terms of ethics and work culture.

One of the reasons for the high degree of European work ethic and culture is Calvin’s doctrine of predestination. According to Max Weber, it was John Calvin who introduced theological doctrines which combined with those of Martin Luther to form a significant new attitude towards work. Calvin taught that all men/women should work, even the wealthy, because to work was the will of God. It was the duty of men/women to serve as instruments of God here on earth, to reshape the world in the manner of the Kingdom of God, and to be part of the ongoing process of His creation. Men/women should not aspire to an easy life without means or rather work in the true sense of the word. Earnings had to be reinvested several times, ad infinitum. In this way, the company paves the way for further development and reinvention of God’s creation here on earth.

What is striking in all these arguments is that work has an intrinsic value because in work we realize our finitude, we become more human, we continue in the process of God’s creation. It is this sense of duty that society develops in all its dimensions. This evolution can be observed in all ways in terms of human progress. Unfortunately, this does not take place in Nagaland. We have the best churches, and perhaps even the largest churches in the Indian subcontinent and yet the buildings of public utility are in ruins, which resembles our attitude and our philosophy of life.

There are people, for days together they won’t go to the office or to work, and yet it doesn’t hurt their conscience, that they get their full salary for their work. Many public school teachers, when assigned to rural areas or some of the subdivisions of Kiphire, Mon, Tuensang, Phek, Peren, etc., send their substitutes and share the salary. When the acute family situation requires it, it is understandable, however, despite their secure jobs and handsome salary, some go into business to accumulate more income by quitting their jobs.

In some villages, the village education committee sets a fee for this type of substitution game. Very few care for the students in their charge, but the children of these teachers will invariably be placed in private schools. One wonders why such a thing has to be done like this.

We have become immune and silent spectators of the conditions of deprivation in our society. We do not want to raise our voice against the unjust system that prevails. But when it comes to the heart of our ego, we will fight to our last breath. We all know the deplorable conditions of the roads in our state, yet very few care to ask and demand our civil rights. When public facilities are half done and abandoned, no one is there to raise the issue, but when women demanded 33% representation in urban local body elections, there was violence on the road and our leaders had to take refuge in the military cantonment. . On the question of power sharing and governance, there is a strong reaction against women but for drinking water in our capital, and the multiple taxes imposed on the populations, the mediocrity of the infrastructures, everyone is silent.

For some people, days away from work are not a problem, but the same people will feel guilty when they are absent from church services. In the name of the lord’s program, some are absent for days from work, and it never occurs to them that they are failing in their duty.

When it comes to earthly matters, Jesus is very direct. ‘Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s (Mt 22:21, NJB). Here, the context is paid text; nevertheless, we cannot deny the fact that Jesus reiterates our allegiance to our temporal authorities and duties.

The need of the hour is to reflect seriously on how we profess our faith and live out what it demands of us, especially in regard to our own conduct and professional life.

The author is the pastor of Mary Help of Christians Cathedral, New Minister’s Hill, Kohima.

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