“Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.
Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.”
Ephesians 6:5-9 ESV
Reflection Question: Is my work worshipping God?
I thought about this after reading the verse above, and I think it’s a great question for anyone who calls himself a Christ-follower. While I don’t believe that there are “Christian companies”, just as there are no “Christian bands”, or “Christian T-Shirts”, there are Christian people, and only Christian people. A Christian is someone who folows Christ, not someone who is affiliated with a certain group or organization, neither is it a t-shirt or piece of music as neither can follow Christ, even as they can be used by a human Christ-follower for worship. So while a Christ-follower may be affiliated with an organization, it doesnt mean that being affiliated with that organization means thst a person is a Christ-follower. I say all of this to make one point: the responsibility of thriving as a Christ-follower is on each individual, not on the groups they are affiliated with. The sincerity, progress, amd impact of your spiritual life has more to do with your own submission to Christ than your pastor’s, small group leader’s, or family’s.
In other words, your work matters greatly. This is both a good thing and a threatening thing, but before I expound on why, let me provide a more useful defintiion of work, as many simply think “my work is my job”, which is wrong.
DEFINITION: My work is the collection of every prodcutive act I engage in.
My productive acts are anything I do to develop, forward, or expand the different facets of my life, mainly:
So when asking myself the reflection question, “Is my work worshipping God?”, I can rephrase it to:
“Is my (collection of every productive act) worship to God?”
And even, “Are the physical, mental, spiritual, social, and emotional things I do worship to God?”
As we can see, when we deepen our understanding of work, we realize that it is impossible to separate worshipping God with our work without engaging in the development, forwarding, and expanding of the different facets of our lives.
We also need to deepen our understanding of worship from just singing and dancing, but to:
sincere, extreme adoration, honor, and submission
The person, thing, or idea we sincerely, extremely, adore, honor, and submit to is what we are truly worshipping.
Going back to the question, we can rephrase it again to:
Is my work (collection of every productive act) worship (sincerely, extremely adoring, honoring, and submitting) to God?”
And, “Are the physical, mental, spiritual, social, and emotional things I do sincerely, extremely adoring, honoring, and submitting to God?”
Like all verses should, Ephesians 6:5-9 moved me to reflect on my work, not so much how satisfied I am, or how much I’m making, or whether I have work life balance, but whether I am truly worshipping God. Working for God means I should be most excellent because the One I’m trying to please is most excellent. When I complain or grumble about my work situation, about my team, about my customers, and about my great effort, I’m forgetting that I’m supposed to be working for God, and should I not strive to give Him the very best of me at work? And should I not fix my diet, fix my routines, and adopt healthy habits for these allow me to give God better worship? Shouldn’t I also order my mental life, read books, study, make myself wise, as these can also be used develop, further, and expand my worship to God?
If we are to worship God with our work, and work is every productive act we engage in, should we not engage in more productivity than anyone else, for we are driven not by mere necessity nor love for ourselves but love for God and others? Should we not be the hardest working and most productive people in the world?
I think we should. And I think we, as so-called Christ-followers, should never be idle, never wasteful, nor selfishly living off others (including their parents if they are adults, or riding on the coattails of colleagues at work when our own contribution is tiny), just as we should never be greedy, never unkind or mean, never usurious, and never unfair.
Here’s some notes I gave myself to make this verse practical:
Let me summarize:
Get a job or make your own (that’s an Entreprenuer). Be the best at it, whatever it is, not according to your cheerleaders but according to your customers. Order your life to be productive. And do it all for God, not man.
But let’s not talk about glorifying God with work, if we’re not even engaging in productive activities. That’s what you call lip service.
When the dream is great but the skill is weak
When the lofty goal beacons and taunts
When the seriousness of the moment is lost
When the isolation of the calling haunts
There, within challenge, is character wrought
When people opine, criticize, and talk
When many share the excitement but not the burden
When the empty drums are revealed for who
When the boys have no choice but be men
There, within necessity, is greatness bought
When man and woman can only work in the bright
When the lack of an ideal leads to impotence
When human reflection is as shallow as me
When I need a new perspective, a new lens
In dark days’ devotions, You I sought
I don’t know a lot, much less understand enough
My only discoveries are Matrushkas of questions
And like cells, they multiply, faster than I can hold
So I must rely on Your voice for wise revelations
Of which of the infinite paths to walk securely down,
Of which open doors to shut, which to boldly enter
And to define the comings and goings of my day
That I may never stray from Your love’s center
For as my namesake once prayed in a poem,
“Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me!”
I experience this loving care in Your disciplines
Creating in me the capacity to live miraculously
Blessed is man that Your love for him is so great
That second and seventh chances are not beyond You
And with all my faults, with all my fears and doubts
They all melt away as I stand here in worship of You