This Week’s #ipromise Principle- Purpose is a promise you submit to, not a proposal you submit.
Today’s #ipromise Principle- The purpose of your work is God’s glory- not yours.
“For from (God) and through (God) and to (God) are all things. To Him be glory forever! Amen” (Romans 11:36, ESV)
“Bondservants, obey your earthly masters…with a sincere heart, as you would Christ…rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man…” (Ephesians 6:5, 7, ESV)
If you read the Bible for long, you’ll quickly recognize that God speaks in absolutes a lot. I suppose something about being an eternally existing, unchangeable Sovereign ruling the entire universe lends itself to that. In Romans 11:36, we find one of these grand, all-encompassing statements. According to Paul here, everything– without exception, finds its origin in God, its sustenance in God, and its purpose in God. In other words, everything in life is ultimately all about Him. This everything includes your work- that thing that you wake up in the morning and spend the majority of your time and energy doing on a day in, day out basis.
Why is this so significant? Because many of us are tragically convinced that God doesn’t have anything to say about our work, or anything to do with our work. Because of this misunderstanding, too many of us are leaving our faith on the shelf while we go to work (in whatever form that takes for you) 40, 50, even 60+ hours every week.
Think for just a moment with me about the sheer mathematical inconsistency of that. How could it be true that the thing the Bible says is most central to our identity- our relationship with God through Jesus- have nothing to do with the thing we spend more hours doing weekly than any other single thing? The truth is, according to the Bible, it can’t be. Faith and work must be connected.
But how is this so? What does it look like to bring your faith to bear on your work as an engineer, a banker, a firefighter, or a caregiver to kids or aging parents? Here are three ideas for you…
1- Do your work with excellence
Martin Luther was once asked how a Christian shoe maker could make his or her shoes in a distinctly Christian way. Luther replied, “Make great shoes and sell them at a fair price.” This reflects well the biblical teaching on work. Your work is an offering not only before your supervisor or your customers, but before God. And God deserves our very best, right? In your work this week, consider how you can give it to Him.
2- Do your work with integrity
This speaks to the second part of Luther’s statement. It isn’t enough to “make great shoes”; we must also “sell them at a fair price.” In other words, you cannot glorify God in your work while at the same time dishonoring others in the way you do it. This means pursuing right relationships toward your superiors, toward your work’s recipients or beneficiaries, and toward your coworkers as well. It means more than just being honest (although that is important) and goes all the way to seeking to build others up- to better their lives in some way- in the way that you work.
3- Do your work with mission intentionality
If our first two points speak to the importance of what you do, here we focus on where you do it, and who you do it with and for. God has set the times and places for our lives; we are not where we are, doing what we do, by accident or coincidence. How are you making the most of the opportunities God has given you to show and share the Gospel of Jesus through your work? To use Great Commission language, how are you “making disciples” through your work?
It is important to emphasize here that each of these three keys is critical. Excellence and integrity are incomplete without a connection to Jesus; intentionality will certainly ring hollow if not accompanied by excellence and integrity. God means what He says in His Word- “everything” exists for His glory, including your work. How are you living this week like you believe that is true? How are you seeking His glory above your own?
For a link to a great video on the intersection of faith and work, click here