I don’t just mean, “Can you share the gospel at work?”
I mean, “Can the work itself be a spiritual offering to God?”
There’s a huge difference.
Of course we want to share the amazing good news that changed our lives as well as our families and communities. But that’s not all that goes into why work is good.
An Argument From Creation
Genesis 1:28 says this:
“God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.'”
We see from the very beginning that God gave man the purpose to rule over creation. And God said it was very good.
This means that man is meant to take hold of creation, take care of it, build it up, use it for good, and make it the best we can.
Obviously, this is much more than just providing spiritual guidance such as prayer or teaching. We actually have to work with our hands to subdue creation.
Taking action means utilizing natural resources to create something good. But as a stewardship, we have to do it in a way that is sustainable and does not kill creation. It means building business, creating art, leading in government, growing in humanity.
It means being all we can be, and working to help creation be all it can be.
If we deny this purpose, we deny what we were made to do. Without understanding our God-given role, we will be aimless.
False Dichotomy: Spiritual vs. Secular
So often, we want to compartmentalize our faith. When we’re at church, we think about church and do spiritual things. When we’re at work, we want to think about work and God hardly enters the picture.
But this is a false dichotomy.
Romans 12:1-2 instructs us to use our whole bodies to be a living sacrifice to God. In other words, if we do anything that is not an offering to God, then we are wasting our time.
So if there is an entire compartment in our lives that is viewed as outside of God’s realm, such as our work life, then we’re doing something wrong.In our jobs, we have the opportunity to serve #God by giving it our all. #faith #work Click To Tweet
Thinking back to that passage in Genesis where we learn our purpose to rule over everything God has made, we see that as we subdue creation, we are fulfilling God’s purpose for us. It is spiritual at its core because as we do a good job utilizing creation, we literally do it in obedience to God.
So for each of us in our job, we have the opportunity to serve God by giving it our all. When we work to create a product or a service, we can honor God.
God gave us this command to subdue creation so that everything He made, including us, can flourish. It’s for our own good. As we do well in working the land, so to speak, we make things better for everyone. In this way, the fulfillment of our purpose helps us to better enjoy what God has made.
Dr. Anne Bradley said it best in her article on flourishing:
Flourishing means becoming everything we were created to be. #flourish #fulfillment Click To Tweet
What does flourishing look like, then?
It’s when the wilderness becomes fruitful. It’s when justice dwells. It’s when righteousness abides. It’s when people live peacefully.
Flourishing is happiness. It’s joy. It’s a fullness of life. It’s wholeness. It’s abundance.
Flourishing seeks the welfare of the city. It promotes the common good. It radiates God’s Kingdom on earth.
Flourishing is a thriving farm. It’s a booming city. It’s a cure for disease. It’s a new technology. It’s a beautiful song. It’s a vibrant street mural. It’s a loving family. It’s a fun friendship. It’s a deep relationship with God. It’s living as an image bearer of our Creator.
Flourishing means becoming everything we were created to be.
Doctrine of Common Grace
The Doctrine of Common Grace means that God has given His gifts without merit to every single person whether they are following God or not.1
Matthew 5:45 says that God “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” He provides for every single person with good things even if they don’t deserve it.
This means that each person receives the breath of life and daily necessities, but also gifts to do great works. Steve Jobs was not a Christian, but he was able to change the world through his company, Apple. Gandhi was a hindu, but God enabled him to be one of the greatest leaders the world has ever seen. Led Zeppelin was not a Christian band at all, but their music shaped rock and blues in revolutionary ways ever since the 1960’s.
Tim Keller said this in one of his articles, “All artistic expressions, skillful farming, scientific discoveries, medical and technological advances are expressions of God’s grace” (By the way, this entire article by Tim Keller is a magnificent treaty on the Doctrine of Common Grace).
So for us today, as we do our work, we should be willing to recognize that God has blessed those who don’t deserve it (including Christians). Because of this, we can recognize that non-believers have just as much to add to the table and that as we work together, what we produce can be rich and meaningful.
So don’t go to work everyday thinking your labor is useless.
Pray everyday on your drive to work that you would remember your purpose and that you would give it every ounce of gusto you have for the glory of God.
Do an amazing job, so that your small piece put together with all your co-workers’ pieces can help your city flourish through business. This is part of displaying to the world God’s majesty.
Until Jesus comes back and we get to see what true flourishing is, let’s live life abundantly in the mean time, give it your all!
Check out this video below to see what The Institute of Faith, Work and Economy has to say about the subject.
- It should be noted that this is different from the spiritual gifts that are given to believers when they receive the Holy Spirit.