I recently received an email from a young woman who said the following: “Your work was instrumental in helping me break through the barrier between my faith and work. I realized I was blocking God for fear he’d destroy my career goals, because I thought they were pride based. Now I see my strengths in him and how my career goals tie into his plan for me. I’m ready to face that barrier head on.”
The turning point for her was realizing that her work was actually part of God’s big story of creating and caring for the world.
In interviews that I have conducted, I have discovered that there are certain elements that help people restore the lost connection between their faith and work. I use the words “restore” and “reconnect” because the Bible is clear that we should be holistic in our approach to faith, that is, it affects every area of our life. Following are some themes that have emerged in those interviews:
- Using our imagination, embracing creativity
“I pray for creativity and innovation to be a bucket-filler not a bucket-drainer.”
- Commitment to prayer
“I am praying more intentionally.”
- Not being so focused on self, but surrendering to God
“There are still the same problems in the workplace: dealing with difficult people, feeling tired and stressed; but I surrender more to God as a daily practice. I’m not fighting Him as much.”
- A sense of being where God has placed them to be
“Now I see that I am where God wants me to be.”
- More peace about God, and the place of work
“I am less full of angst and uncertainty generally. I journaled my way through: battling it out on paper: me and God.”
- More consistent behavior
“I am more aware of my actions, and the need for consistency of behavior.”
- Allowing the more authentic self to emerge
“I am less lofty, spiritual, idealistic and more trying to be excellent in work, and build authentic relationships and have real conversations, and understand the challenges that colleagues and patients are going through.”
- Growing godly character
“I take off the old self put on my new self. It’s never perfect. I review the year, and ask: am I a better person?”
- Growing in compassion
“The tragedy of losing my own unborn child impacted on how I approached parents of babies, as I became less focused on the medical situation but more compassionate to their situation. It was a big step of change for me in applying compassionate Jesus into the workplace.”
- Being able to see the hand of God at work
“I’m able to look back on the path God has guided me through, the way he has opened doors, and got me through. I can see clearly the hand of God, and that reminds me not to be frustrated by things, and to be more thankful, cultivating gratitude.”
Think it Through
How do you reconnect your faith and work?
Which of the ideas on the list help you to reframe the connection?
What Does the Bible Say?
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
We need to be whole-life disciples of God, offering him everything we do with our bodies. Having surrendered our will to Jesus, we then see every action and every word through his eyes, as an opportunity to join in God’s work of creating, sustaining, and reconciling all people and all of creation to himself.
What an opportunity we have to join in your story, to join in what you are doing in the world.
Thank you that our ordinary work can be an offering to you, and a means of serving you.
Thank you that you invite us to use our imagination, to be creative, to see new possibilities.
Thank you that you offer us courage to be real about who we are, and your place in our lives.
Thank you that you want to develop in us and express through us the fruit of the spirit.
Help us see our work with fresh eyes.
Help us to reconnect our faith with our work.
Kara Martin is the author of Workship: How to Use Your Work to Worship God, and Workship 2: How to Flourish at Work. She is also a lecturer with Mary Andrews College. Kara has worked in media and communications, human resources, business analysis and policy development roles, in a variety of organisations, and as a consultant. Kara has a particular passion for integrating our Christian faith and work, and helping churches connect with the workers in their congregations. She is currently conducting research on how to effectively equip workplace Christians to integrate their faith and work.