Where do you spend most of your time during the week? What activities or efforts demand the majority of your energy and attention? For most of us, the answer would be work. Work consumes a massive portion of our lives, yet we rarely talk about how it is connected to our relationship with God. If Jesus is King of our lives, then his reign must reach into every realm of it, including our work.
At times we can miss the connection between work and mission. We work all week in the “real” world, then we retreat to worship in a sacred space on one sacred day. Rarely do we envision an overlap between the two. We see worship as a chance to get filled up for the week ahead, then we try to push through the work week until we get back to worship again. This is a small view of both activities that keeps them separated. So how do we expand our vision of the two? The answer is found not by taking more time away from our jobs to spend in church. The answer is to begin seeing our work as worship.
It is critical to understand and view work through this theological, biblical, Christ-centered, and gospel-driven lens because work has such potential to shape who we are. Obviously, work demands much of our time and energy. And it can also claim our identity. It has this power because we often connect who we are to what we do for a living. When you meet someone for the first time, a common introductory question is “What do you do?” And how do we answer?
I am a teacher.
I am a doctor.
I am an artist.
I am an entrepreneur.
I am a farmer.
I am a police officer.
Notice that we don’t say:
I practice medicine.
I lead a startup.
I plant and harvest.
I serve and protect.
Why? Because we culturally and naturally associate what we do with who we are.
But what would happen if we began to recognize that every moment you are on the clock is an opportunity to cast the compelling vision of how Jesus has transformed every single corner of your life?
Work is living out God’s mission in the world. Jesus doesn’t just invite us to believe, he calls us to follow. Then he commissions us to go. Every believer is a disciple, and every disciple is a missionary. “But I don’t feel called to be a missionary.” Okay, fine. Are you a Christian? Your conversion is your calling. Every Monday morning brings a brand-new commission to the reach spiritually hungry people and influence those around us.
This truth challenges us to see work as more than an occupation. It can also be a vocation. The term vocation comes from a Latin word meaning “voice” or “calling.” English dictionaries define it in a range of ways from business or profession to divine calling or station. Work can be all of the above. What if we started to view our jobs as a station where we’ve been called to serve God and the world? What if we saw work as an opportunity to fulfill our calling as missionaries?
We would be blessed in our work and would bless the world through it.
Work is worship. In view of God’s mercy, in light of God’s glory, because of all he has done and all that he is, we give all that we are as an offering to him. We declare our surrender to the unrivaled reign of God and proclaim that he is King over every corner of this world and every corner of our lives. Our worship is not confined to the places or days that we call sacred. Every day and every space belongs to him. Each moment is alive with potential to bring glory to God for the sake of our coworkers, clients, and world. God meets us in our gatherings and sends us out empowered for mission. What starts in the gathering is echoed in the sending. We come together to explore the Scriptures, then go out to live them. We pray for God to move in our communities, then engage our communities through the presence and power of God himself, alive in us. We proclaim his glory and strength and power, then we face our circumstances as if we believe it is true.
So, what if we started to view our work as an opportunity to reach spiritually hungry people and influence those around us? What if we began to see our work, what we do during the week, as worship, and as an opportunity to live out God’s mission? Our life is our liturgy. All that we are and all that we do is given as a living sacrifice so that all may come to know and be transformed by the love of Jesus Christ!
See you on Sunday,