Thursday, June 20, 2013

Is Your Work Worship?

I think I may have written about this in the past but it was really on my mind yesterday as I stained my deck. First, if you are not a Christian, this may not apply to you. I would love for you to read it and even comment, just understand I am approaching this topic from a scriptural standpoint.

The question is, "Is your work worship?" Do you view your JOB as a form of worship and/or ministry? Most of you will immediately default to some kind of answer revolving around missionaries in the work place and being salt and light for your coworkers, clients, etc. That's fine and is certainly a part of my question but the bigger question is do you view your actual job, whether it is cooking hamburgers at McDonalds or it is digging ditches or it is helping people buy a house or writing for the newspaper, do you view that as worship and ministry? I think we should view the job itself, the labor we do to earn a paycheck, as ministry, as the opportunity to share God.

  • Colossians 3:23-24 says "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
  • Ephesians 6:5-7 says "Slaves, obey your earthly master with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly  as if you were serving the Lord, not people..."
  • Ecclesiastes 3:13 says, "...That each of them may eat or drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil--this is the gift of God"

When someone hires us to work, we are essentially trading them our time and expertise for their money. They expect to get a certain value for that money. They expect us to sell something for them, help people accomplish some task, accommodate some need, etc. It is our obligation, as Christians to be thankful for that opportunity to serve. I frequently hear brothers and sisters get this just a little bit wrong. They will thank God in prayer for their job and their ability to provide for their family but then turn around and complain incessantly about how horrible their boss is or how rude their customers are or how awful the conditions are, etc.

If we view our work as worship, this complaining no longer has a place. We are, instead, grateful for the opportunity and respectful of the people that provide that opportunity. We work harder than we ever have because we are working to please Christ, not the people here on Earth. We are joyful in our toils. When bumps in the road happen (and they still will of course), we are thankful for the learning experience or the character building moment. We also recognize that Satan is real and plays a part in our day to day lives and can throw those bumps in to try to derail our faith. Finally, we realize that if we work this way, our dealings with coworkers, clients, etc. produce numerous opportunities for evangelism and counseling. People see we are different and want to know how we find joy amidst struggle. It completely changes everything.

Now, I know this concept is tough. I have a tough time with it. I have delivered pizzas, worked in gas stations, worked at the cafeteria on MTSU campus, worked in the heat doing construction, worked in a warehouse. I have done all this before and if someone told me to be "joyful" about it, I would think they had lost their mind. That work is difficult, sometimes gross and definitely not somewhere it is easy to wake up every morning and praise God for the job. I get that. Just think though how your perspective will change if you make an effort to view work as ministry. I'm not good at it myself yet but I am working on it. When a deal falls through, I have a hard time being joyful. When a prospect looks at houses with me and then buys through another Realtor, I don't always think nice things. But I should.

My challenge to you is to first recognize that the work you have to do is a blessing from God. It is an opportunity to praise and an opportunity serve. You have a chance to provide value to the employer and to show Christ to them in an act of service. That will always speak louder than spouting off scriptures or wearing a WWJD bracelet. Further, God wants us to work hard. He expects us to toil. We are his ambassadors in a broken world. If someone were representing you, wouldn't you want them to be the hardest workers?

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