Seeing Work as Worship

Reprinted from the Salt & Light Australia Daily Devotional. 

I have been thinking lately how important it is to reframe our work as an act of worship. I think it helps transform the profane to profound, the secular to sacred, the ordinary to extraordinary, and the natural to supernatural.
 
I see Christians feeling defeated in the workplace, from a faith perspective, because there is a sense of never doing enough for God, continually feeling spiritually dirty from contact with the world, and overwhelmed with a sense of the meaninglessness of their daily work.
 
All that changes when we see our work as an act of worship.

  • God invites us to join him in the ordinary things of work, and stewarding his creation (Genesis 1:26-28).
  • He invites us to see the link between our work, as an act of service and worship (Genesis 2:15-20a).
  • By working for God and offering him our everyday efforts, we begin to see his fingerprints around us, his image in others, and his possibilities for our work (Romans 12:1-2).
  • It transforms the Sunday service from the spiritual injection for the week, to a time of gratitude for seeing him at work through the week (Acts 4:32-35).
  • It means that church is a point of exchange of our work and his grace, a mystical renewal (II Corinthians 4:16).
  • Now our worship is not in a temple, but our bodies have become the temple of the Holy Spirit, and every action is an act of worship (I Corinthians 6:19).

What the Bible Says

Colossians 3:17, 23-4:1 is the classic telling of this story of our work as an act of worship. I’m using The Message paraphrase to help shock us out of complacency at its wisdom. I’ve also replaced ‘servant’ and ‘Master’ for our context.
Let every detail in your lives – words, actions, whatever – be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

Employees, do what you’re told by your earthly leaders. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real boss, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate boss you’re serving is Christ. The sullen employee who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.
And leaders, treat your people considerately. Be fair with them. Don’t forget for a minute that you, too, serve a Master – God in heaven.

It is great to think about our Christian faith in terms of every detail of our lives surrendered to God, and done to his glory, with hearts full of gratitude. May we do our work well, in a way that brings honour to Jesus, who did all his work well, for God’s glory. And if we have the privilege of leadership, may we be mindful that we lead like Jesus, firm but fair, wise, and with a posture of service.
 
Think it Through

  • What difference does it make to think of every activity as an act of worship?
  • How is God at work in your workplace? 

Prayer

Dear Lord,
Sometimes we struggle to see you in our workplace.
Sometimes our work seems too ordinary, too vulgar, to be of any use to you.
Sometimes it is more convenient to restrict you to a Sunday activity.
Thank you that you cannot be contained.
Thank you that you continually interrupt our thoughts, our words, our actions.
Thank you that you continually irrupt in our world.
Help us to look with fresh eyes at our work.
Help us to look with fresh eyes at our work colleagues.
Help us to look with fresh eyes at our workplace.
Come, Lord Jesus, in our work and through our work.
Amen

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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.

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