Faith & Work: An Uneasy Alliance – A Forum for Spiritual Formation – 4 of 8
Many Christians have created a dichotomy between the sacred and the secular, between their private “faith life” and their public “work life.”
“Sacred” (Spiritual Life) v “Secular” (Work Life)
But that is not God’s intention. There is no secular dimension to life—all of life is meant to be lived under Christ’s lordship. Work is a gift from God, a spiritual activity through which we image God. Today we will discuss four critical functions our work is to fulfill.
Through work we serve people. All of the amenities that we enjoy can be traced back to the work of millions of people working across a complex web of industries. Through our combined individual contributions at work, we serve one another in powerful ways. That is a good thing that God wants done.
In fact, in Matthew 25:34-40 Jesus taught that people’s identity as either a “sheep” (saved) or a “goat” (lost) is evidenced in a willingness to give themselves in service to others. That’s what work is! Jesus said, “I was hungry/thirsty/naked/sick…and you took care of me.” Through our various occupations we make ourselves useful by helping to meet their needs. And that is something that God wants done. I am not suggesting that the service rendered in this parable is limited to what we do at work, but I do believe that the 40 plus hours per week we spend at work accounts for a significant percentage of the service we render to others.
Our work also is the context for our own spiritual formation. We should have a new appreciation for the significance of our work. We should consciously view our work as a platform for serving God by serving others. We should conduct ourselves at work as though Jesus were our boss.
On the job you may feel overworked, overwhelmed, under-compensated and under-appreciated, but you can be confident that Jesus, the righteous judge, will fairly evaluate your life’s work, and you will be justly rewarded.
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- Develop a new appreciation for the significance of your work.
- Consciously view your work as a platform for serving God by serving others.
- Conduct yourself at work as though Jesus were your boss (because He is!).
TAKE ONE STEP
Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)