Social Work: Taking God Seriously
When I meet new people, and they hear that I am a social worker, I almost always get the same type of responses. Many include, “Wow! you really must not want to make a lot of money,” “I could never do what you do!” “Why did you choose social work???” “You must have a heart of gold.” “You must have a lot of patience.” These statements and questions come out of mere curiosity of what I do, but some are a surprising, especially coming from fellow Christians.
My question is, why not social work? In the Bible, we are all called to be social workers. In the book of Matthew, Jesus instructs us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick, visit those in prison, and invite strangers into our homes (Matthew 25:31-40). Being a social worker is not just ripping children away from their parents (thank you, media, for giving social workers a bad rap), but it’s about caring for others, seeking justice for the unjust, and healing the broken people of the world. Social workers provide a multitude of services to people. These services are culturally competent and non-judgmental, and we do no discriminate against race, age, sex, religion, sexual orientation, class, education level, or physical ability.
During my undergraduate days, the social work department developed its core beliefs and principles of teaching around my favorite verse,
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8, New International Version)
Micah 6:8 is the foundation of biblical social work, and what we as Christians are called to do. To break it down in layman's terms, I like The Message’s version:
“But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don't take yourself too seriously—take God seriously.” (Micah 6:8, The Message)
March is Social Work Month, so I challenge you to take the steps, and ask yourself, why not social work? Social workers do more than remove children from their homes. Social workers are everywhere. They are in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, government (policy making), mental health, behavioral health, armed services, and much more.
What does it mean to you to take God seriously, as it says in Micah 6:8? What is He calling you to do to ensure fairness, justice, and love in today’s world?
See you in the round!