Saturday, June 16, 2007

Honoring God In Our Occupations

Listen to these voices:

"I am stuck in this boring job because I need the money."

"I am too exhausted at the end of a working day to pursue spiritual activities."

"I cannot see any spiritual connection between my faith and my job."

"Work is a necessary evil in a fallen world."

I acknowledge that there are marketplace Christians who are fully engaged and contributing in a God honouring way through their secular jobs. But, my guess is that they are few in number. The majority of us struggle hard in fleshing out our faith in the "real world". Many mornings, I start out the day with an intention of hallowing my work by making it a sacrifice to God. But more often than not, by mid morning, as I am swamped with e mails, phone calls and meetings, my spiritual desires quickly slipped away and I succumb to the tyranny of the urgent. How then can I honour God in my occupation?

I got a useful tip on practicing God's presence at the workplace while reading Phillip Yancey's Rumours of Another World. Yancey wrote:

"Martin Luther saw the potential calling in any kind of work. "Even dirty and unpleasant work, such as shoveling manure or washing diapers, is pure and holy work if it comes from a pure heart," he said. Luther urged ordinary folk - farmer, milkmaids, butchers and cobblers - to perform their work as if God himself was watching. Luther was, in effect, bringing two worlds together, reading God into everyday life."

Yancey helped me to see that the mundane tasks that comprise my day are significant parts of a meaningful pattern in God's view. And, while it is difficult to practice, he also helped me to see lasting value in each of my mundane tasks.

I reviewed my previous work week and asked myself certain questions. Did I perform my routine tasks like signing letters, drafting documents and doing legal research with an awareness that God was watching me? Did I treat my colleagues, my clients and my professional peers with the attention they deserve? What was my inner spirit like - stressed, anxious, irritable or peaceful, contented and joyful? Sharing a joke over lunch, contributing an idea in a meeting, visiting a colleague whose father passed away - were these acts done for Christ?

When I began to see the potential of honouring God in every working day, I realized afresh that marketplace Christians are placed in strategic positions to influence the world for Christ. There are people and organizations that God wants to reach through each one of us. The question we need to ask ourselves is whether we are willing to be faithful witnesses every single day in the marketplace?

Wong Fook Meng
GCF iCommentary


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