Making the most of work

When you read the Bible, you’ll meet a lot of people God used who didn’t have "Christian" jobs.

Nehemiah was a city planner and Esther was a powerful woman in a political world. God used them both. 

I wanted to share some thoughts with you about work.  After all, we spend way more time at work than we do at church.   But so many of us are miserable in our jobs.  We view them as a means to an end.  It’s something we get through so we can get what we want (the weekend or retirement). 

I’ll start at the beginning.

In the beginning, God worked. 

The Bible begins talking about work as soon as it begins talking about anything - that is how important and basic it is.  Work was not an evil that came into the picture.  God’s plan for humans always involved them working, living in the constant cycle of work and rest.
God made the world to need work.

While God created other forms of life, only humans are explicitly given a job.  We are called to stand in for God here in the world, exercising stewardship over the rest of creation.  The Bible sees all work as distinguishing human beings from animals and elevating them to a place of dignity.

In Genesis, God is a gardener.  In the New Testament, he is a carpenter.  God made it our job to develop and build this society.  We’re not just here to take up space – we are here to cultivate the garden.

In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul counsels readers that when they become Christians it is unnecessary to change what they are currently doing in life in order to live lives that please God.  In other words, you don’t have to quit your job and become a missionary to make a difference.  You can be a missionary at your job.

So how should we connect work to worship? 

How we view work and how we do our work matters more than you might imagine.

Jesus spend the majority of his life as a carpenter, not a rabbi.  He spent more time making tables than walking on water.  Jesus knew what it was like to get up and go to work everyday.  Working with his hands was not beneath him. 

Check out this quote from Dorothy Sayers.

"The Church’s approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to moral instruction and church attendance.  What the Church should be telling him is this: that the very first demand that his religion makes upon him is that he should make good tables."

The Apostle Paul said it this way:  "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ." - Colossians 3:23-24

Work is not about economic exchange, making money or getting the dream, it’s about God-honoring human creativity and contribution.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said this: "If it falls to your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep the streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, like Shakespeare wrote poetry, like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets so well that all the host of Heaven and earth will have to pause and say, "here lived a great street sweeper, who swept his job well."

I’m blessed to be the pastor of Bellville Adventist Church.  But don’t you ever think your job isn’t important.  Don’t you ever think what I’m doing is more impactful than what you’re doing.  Don’t ever think you can’t make a difference at work.

On Monday, go to work with God in mind.  Go with a divine perspective.  Understand that God has you there for a reason and that wherever you are, you are a minister of the Gospel.

Pastor Neville

P.S. If you want to read more on this subject, check out this book by Tim Keller called Every Good Endeavor.