I think a lot of us wonder if our jobs really matter. Especially when we are working on the 100th spreadsheet of the day, stressed out preparing for an upcoming conference or project, working on the same tasks day-in and day-out or even when we are at home changing diapers. We start to wonder if our jobs are really that meaningful or worth anything for the kingdom of God. We start to get sucked into thinking our “work life” is on one side and our “God-glorifying life” is on the other. We begin to buy into the lie that if we only had a job in ministry, or with a non-profit that feeds the hungry, that it would be more God honoring than our desk job. We start to believe that work is getting in the way of us spreading the gospel, or even, God’s will for our lives.
The thing is, work was created before the great fall of man – it is not a product of sin (stresses from work are a product of the fall, but not work itself – Genesis 1-3). Work is not a secular idea. Just because we may work in jobs that are not inherently Christian, doesn’t mean they are worth less than a job that is in a church building or that we are going against the will of God (unless, of course, your job is illegal. And, maybe, get out of that…).
“…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
The perspective we have regarding our work is what makes the difference in how we can still live a life of ministry within a “secular” job. For me, I have to see my job as a “business of people;” otherwise, I can drift into thinking that what I do is useless because my line of work, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t really matter at all – but people do. People, and the way I interact with them, have to be the focus of my workday. With this perspective, the people we come in contact with are not just clients, employees, coffee baristas, or even screaming toddlers. They become people with hearts and souls – hurts and joys, struggles and disappointments. Some may be in the best season of their lives while others may be struggling to find comfort in one of their worst. When we humanize the names in our inboxes, the line we see between “sacred” and “secular” work becomes blurred.
Just as Jesus made God’s character known to the people He came in contact with, through His actions and words (John 17:6-26), we too should be active participants in proclaiming the very same by the way we conduct ourselves in our corporate jobs. We are in the business of people – the way we do our work and conduct ourselves impacts the people around us and is typically a good indicator of the state of our own hearts. Work honorably, serve and seek the welfare of those around you, don’t be lazy in your work, invest in and respect the people you cross paths with, be the salt in an otherwise bland workday (Romans 12:9-21, 1 Peter 1:12, Matthew 5:13-16). There is no sacred/secular divide. All can and will be used for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31-33). Your work can be a big part of your ministry, even if it is in an office cubicle. The way we conduct ourselves inside and outside of work should reflect our ultimate job as ambassadors of Christ for the ministry of reconciliation, no matter what job field we work in (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).