Reflecting On Work
“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 http://bible.com/59/eph.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: • Physical • Mental • Spiritual • Social • Emotional 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:
- Start by setting goals for every area of your life (spiritual, physical, social, emotional, mental).
- List down 3 routines per area that you will adopt (ex: daily devotions at 5am, gym at 530am, read a page a day).
- Stick to these routines faithfully (even better, do them without taking selfies or sharing every step of the way).
- If you don’t have s job, get a job – even if it isn’t your passion. You don’t need more prayer nor ideas. You don’t need to find your passion. You need to find balls. You need to find the truth that the universe doesn’t exist to fulfill you, but that you exist to serve, and in that -recess you’ll find fulfillment. You need a schedule, a daily work list, practice, and importantly a boss who will hold you accountable.
- If you have a job, do whatever it takes to be the best at it – even if it’s hard. Everything is hard at the beginning. I hard a hard time learning how to read. I’m glad no idiot told me “It’s ok if you don’t read David. Find your passion. You’ll excel there.” I’m glad my mom and Joe told me, “You can get this. Take it a letter at a time.” I think one of the dumbest things parents (and even small group leaders who act like parents) of anyone above 13 years old is to fight their battles FOR them instead of fighting their battles WITH them. No one ever got strong through someone fighting on their behalf.
- And you need to daily reflect on whether my collection of productive activities glorified God. This is where I fail often. Many times, I work for man (customers, team, boss, investors, myself), when I should be worshipping God. We workout to take selfies when we should be working out to give God a beautiful temple. We work to make money to buy stuff we don’t need, when we should be worshipping the Love we need most. We study to be smart and share quotes we don’t’ live out and know information we can’t utilize, when we should seek to be wise by learning the fear of God.