Monday, August 03, 2009

God@Work - Your Calling as a Worker

This post summarizes part 3 in the God@Work series and is entitled "Your Calling as a Worker". It addresses the distinctive characteristics of a Christian worker and it's my hope that you find these notes helpful.

The Gospel is Central to Our Calling as a Worker. Ephesians 2:8-10
What does Ephesians 2:8-10 have to do with the topic of vocation? When we think about our vocations, we need to start with our first and primary vocation - the call of the gospel into a life of faith. We are called into fellowship with God through the work of Christ on the cross, who reconciled us to God and, according to Ephesians 2:8-10, has summoned us to good works. These good works prepared for us are to be walked out in the various vocations, in various realms of life that we're called to - in society, in church, in family and in our workplace.

The Gospel Influences How We Work. Colossians 3:22 - 4:1
Colossians 3:22 - 4:1 offers a view of how the gospel influences the way we should work. This passage unveils five different gospel implications related to our work life -

a) We work to worship our Savior - the highest aim of our work is as an act of worship before God. Our work is an opportunity to worship and this is a uniquely Christian opportunity. Paul remind the slaves of the privilege of working "as for the Lord, and not for men"

b) We work to serve - our work is to serve our neighbor. We are accustom to the notion of serving in church, in our families and possibly in our community. However, many of us do not approach our work life with service in view. Yet, God has called us to serve in all of life. And, our service should be exemplary. Paul's exhortation to the slaves calls them to be exemplary in their service - "...obey in everything those who are your earthly masters". Our motivation for service? Simply that we serve Christ by serving our neighbor.

c) We work for a reward - Paul's encourages the slaves by pointing them to the promise of a reward from God. He reminds them that the work they faithfully performed is not in vain - they will receive a better reward from God. "Whatever you do, work heartily... knowing that from the Lord, you will receive inheritance as a reward." This isn't just about money - it's about eternal life and reward on the Last Day when we stand before God.

d) We work with accountability - the thread of accountability runs throughout this passage. God will hold us accountable for our work, either as "slave" or "master". We are responsible to give an account for not only the outcome of our work but the manner with which we work. Just a couple of questions - Do we treat our coworkers with respect and kindness? Do we work with trust toward God or self reliance on our own efforts?

e) We work with humble contentment - implicit to this passage, is an encouragement to the slaves to be content even in their work. Contentment requires faith. The work that God has called us to will result for our good and for His glory. The "good" spoken of in Romans 8:28-29 is first and foremost, about conforming us to the image of Christ.

Obviously, much more was shared but hopefully, this post offered a glimpse into why the gospel is foundational, not only to the purpose of work but to the essential distinctives of Christian work.


Ted M. Gossard said...

Good thoughts, ESI. I certainly agree.

Too often it's about just getting through another day, and for many getting to the weekend. But all of life is significant, and all we do. And I have to admit, quite challenging for everyone for different reasons.

We do need to avoid the thought that what we do and how we approach and see our "job" and work is not as important as other aspects of our lives. In a sense it most certainly is, as every part is to be to the glory of God. I have to keep working on that, to remember it, myself, and I think I'm growing in that.

Good reminders and thoughts here. Thanks.

Every Square Inch said...

Ted - you are right - our call to work is significant because it's part of the bigger picture - to glorify God in all of life.