We spend more time at work – whether paid or unpaid – than at any other waking activity. If God cares about our lives, He must care about our work. No matter what your profession or occupation, whether you’re a parent, bus driver, artist or engineer, God cares about your work.
1. Work of God
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Eph 2:10
The Apostle Paul makes clear that we’re God’s workmanship, created for good works. The work of God is us and people. I propose recalibrating the Christian idea of work by placing our focus on people. This is biblical, seeing we’re to love both God and man. Many Christians define the doctrine of vocation around their gifting, work or place in the world. Believers are not called to solely exist or work for ourselves. There must be the ability to listen and respond to the longings and losses of people entrusted to their care.
Have you ever considered your work as a calling to people? The entire point of doing a task is to benefit others. Artists and entrepreneurs alike celebrate this point. Artists who create just for the sake of creating miss the point; art is to be shared. The same applies to entrepreneurs and other fields of work. Think about it! If you’re a boss or one who serves customers, you’ve people entrusted to your care. Are we good stewards of our colleagues, customers or employees; do we give a faithful accounting to those whom we serve under?
2. Work for God
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Cor 10:31
This may sound odd, but Christians are to work with an eye toward obedience, not toward a pay check. We’re to work for God; money is to be seen as a reward for our obedience to Him rather than for the work itself. If we approach work in this manner, our attitude toward our jobs won’t be governed by how much we’re paid. Our happiness on the job would be governed by our obedience, not our pay. Our diligence on the job would be governed by our joyful obedience in serving God and His purpose. His rewards and resources go far beyond what any boss or company can provide. Hudson Taylor put it this way, “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.”
“The (Christian) sees himself as a steward, his life as a gift to be invested and managed for the Lifegiver, and his work as an expression of who he is. For him, work is its own reward. It’s an important part of his life, but only a part. He’s obedient rather than ambitious, committed rather than competitive. For him, nothing is more important than pleasing the One Who called him. Consequently, he’s free to balance his work with rest, worship and play.” – Richard Exley
3. Work with God
“But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.'” John 5:17
Jesus Christ became man to demonstrate the attributes of a true man; to show forth how God meant to live and work in man, and how man may find his life and do his work in God. The Lord opened up the inner mystery of His life to reveal the nature and deepest secrets of The Father’s working. He did not come to the world to work but rather to do the works of His Father through Him. The old saint, Brother Lawrence, said, “We ought not to grow tired of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it’s performed.”
We’ve all probably said or agreed with the noble thought that the measure of a worker is not the job itself, but the way they do it. Perhaps the most famous quote from Bro. Lawrence is the following: “The time of business does not differ with me from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great a tranquillity as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament.”
Do you see God at work in your particular vocation? The key is to first love and enjoy God and those who’ve been entrusted to your care. The Lord took pleasure and joy as He worked in creation, and said “indeed it was very good”, after which He rested. This is the pattern and theology of work we need to embrace.