We all work. Right now in various time zones, languages, and cultures, people across the globe are engaged in the activity of work. Both believers in Christ and unbelievers. Both men and women. That’s because God created humanity in His image, and one aspect of His image is that He is a worker (Genesis 2:2-3).
Though we all work, the type of work we do and the spaces we carry it out in differ. Some of us slug through traffic to complete our tasks in an office surrounded by coworkers while others make our morning coffee and toil from home. This is all dependent on how God leads each of our lives and circumstances. First Peter 4:10 tells us that “as each one has received a gift,” we are to “use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God.”
In wisdom, the Holy Spirit has granted to us special gifts to manage well (1 Corinthians 12:11). One avenue through which we do this is our vocations. Though some may be called to serve Him explicitly in vocational ministry, many work in more secular environments. But as believers, we are ambassadors for Him in both sacred and secular spaces. In fact, because all things “are from Him, through Him, and to Him,” even the secular workspace becomes sacred (Romans 11:36). Christ is Lord of all.
So whether your daily work is carried out in the home, at the office, or in a church setting, it’s all meaningful to the kingdom of God. How can your work, no matter where it’s done, point others to the gospel and proclaim the excellencies of your Savior? Here are several ways.
1. Recognize your work is part of God’s broader purpose on the earth.
It may feel like your work is tiresome and mundane, but through your specific vocation and niche, you become part of fulfilling the creation mandate God established with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He told them to “be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth” (Genesis 1:28).
With this command, our ancient ancestors were called to populate and develop society from scratch. Each of us contributes to this societal cultivation through the work we do, however small or large. It is all part of moving forward from the simplicity of the garden to the complexity of a city, the coming new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:1-2). In those frustrating moments of work, remember what you do matters!
2. Be all in with your work—both hands and heart.
Work becomes meaningful to the kingdom when it includes both excellent productivity from your hands and a heart propensity to do all as unto the Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:23-24). In fact, the more your work is completed primarily for Him, the better quality your work will become.
Dorothy Sayers, in her essay “Why Work,” exhorts the church to follow Christ’s example of doing all work with excellence. She says of Jesus’ earthly work as a carpenter, “No crooked table legs or ill-fitting drawers ever, I dare swear, came out of the carpenter’s shop at Nazareth. Nor, if they did, could anyone believe that they were made by the same hand that made Heaven and earth.”
Let’s work with hands to create an excellent product and a heart that offers all activity as worship for Christ.
3. Discover how your work images the nature of God.
As image-bearers, we can reflect the various attributes of God through our work. Though we’ll never be able to demonstrate His omniscience or omnipresence since those qualities are His alone, we can display other aspects of His nature.
For instance, when journalists report the truth of a story, they reflect a God who is “the truth” (John 14:6). When homemakers manage their homes, they bring order from chaos much like God when He established the world from its formless state (Genesis 1:1-2), and when artists or website designers create something from bare materials like a blank canvas or an empty site, they image their God who created everything from nothing with beauty and function (Genesis 1,2).
4. Abide in His presence as you work so that the fruit of the Spirit creates the aroma of Christ in your workplace.
Many of your coworkers will not know the Lord, but how you live in His presence and walk in His Spirit will give them a taste of who He is. Your love, joy, peace, and patience in the workplace can bring more salt and light than you imagine, especially when the majority of the office rings of complaining and impatience.
So, abide in Christ and be ready to give your colleagues a reason for the hope within you (John 15; 1 Peter 3:15).
5. Discover specific ways to love others through your work.
Most of us think about work as a means to take care of ourselves. Perhaps our main motivation for work is to earn a paycheck, which is a blessing, but how often do you think of blessing others through the work you produce?
You can fulfill the second greatest commandment by creating products and services to bless the public at large. You can provide top-notch customer service to your clientele, or you can serve your coworkers in even the smallest ways that communicate your love and their value.
6. Speak the gospel to coworkers as the Spirit leads.
Perhaps the Lord has placed you in the specific work environment you’re in because He cares deeply for those you rub shoulders with. Who knows if He hasn’t been at work in the hearts of your coworkers for months and if He designed from all eternity for you to share the gospel with them on lunch break?
You are Christ’s ambassador even at your job. Allow God to use you to bring more sheep into His sheepfold (2 Corinthians 5:17-21; John 10:16).
7. If your work is compensated, contribute financially to Great Commission efforts.
All believers are called to make disciples of the nations (Matthew 28:18-20). If He calls you to serve among other people groups of the world, perhaps your vocation can become your opportunity to be in-country and your cover as a missionary. If you’re meant to stay, support the work of those called by giving financially. God is pleased to use your sacrificial giving from a cheerful heart to advance the spread of the gospel among the nations (2 Corinthians 8,9, Philippians 4:10-20).
Which of these suggestions resonates most with your heart and work situation? Ask God even now to give you fresh vision and power to begin viewing your work as meaningful to the kingdom of God and His Great Commission purposes in the world.