I have lived and worked in several cities in Canada and the U.S., but I have never lived in a town where so many people murmur about their work, grumble about their boss and despise what they do, as they do in Windsor, Ontario.
Regardless of where you live, many people feel forced to cut corners, compelled to work overtime and are often exposed to pornographic conversations. In these environments, Christian employees often feel stuck, trapped and drained.
THE DIGNITY OF WORK
We know Jesus is sovereign and controls our lives and careers, but from time to time we all wrestle with what He has called us to do or where He’s called us to reside. Professionals, skilled trades, pastors and church planters — we all struggle to do what we do “to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
We desperately need a God-centered view of work and ministry. We need a gospel-saturated understanding of our vocation and calling. Bob Thune says, “It’s not enough that we try to honor God in how we do our work, or that we try to be Christlike to people at work, or that we support God’s kingdom with the money we make from work. The glory of God must inform and transform our view of work itself.”
The dignity of work does not come from the amount of skill necessary to do the job. Nor does it come from the importance of that work. The dignity of work comes from the source of that work. God Himself is always the source of the work we do.
SERVING AS A CONDUIT FOR GOODNESS
I am a church planter with Send Network, and I discovered recently I’m in the same line of work as the doctor in my church who operates on his patients, and I’m also in the same line of work as my Christian brother who bags groceries at the local supermarket. We are all working on behalf of the Lord Jesus. We are all in the business of extending God’s care to other people. What brings help and hope to our lives and to our church is this doctrine of vocation — the fact that we are serving as a channel or conduit for the goodness and grace of God.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24, ESV, italics added).
So whatever you do, and wherever you do it, you are serving as a conduit for the goodness and grace of God at work. When you weld a bucket back onto a front-end loader or teach math to students who are bored beyond description, you are creating a pathway for people to discover and experience the goodness and grace of God in their lives, whether they acknowledge it now, or not!
When you apply a bandage at the hospital, prepare a mortgage to be signed or dispense a medication at the pharmacy, you are serving as a conduit for the goodness and grace of God in someone’s life. When you provide security for the staff and patients at the hospital, dispatch a truck to pick up a load, pack those boxes, or bag those groceries, or sweep those floors, you are serving the Lord Jesus Christ as a channel for the goodness and grace of God in someone’s life. Whatever you do, you can serve the cause of the Kingdom as an instrument of God and bring some of the goodness and grace of God into someone else’s life.
That’s what work is. That’s what work does. Any job, any work, any vocation can be done for the glory of God. Therefore, “serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free” (Ephesians 6:7-8, NIV). If we do our work as if we were serving the Lord, it becomes gospel-centered work.
CHANGING HOW WE WORK
I believe God wants to use churches and church planters in Send Network to create a tidal wave of change by doing gospel-centered work and by teaching men and women that whatever they do, whatever job they hold, they have a God-given opportunity to work and make a difference in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father (Colossians 3:17).
Can you imagine what would happen if the Bride of Christ showed up for work every single day all across North America determined to serve wholeheartedly and without reservation, knowing we are secret agents for God, and He will use us to put the goodness and grace of God on display?
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58, ESV).
The transforming grace of the gospel in your life can change how you view your work in the marketplace or in planting new churches. It can change how you do your work as a channel of blessing for the glory of God
Published September 2, 2020