It would be an “oops” moment to climb the ladder of success only to learn your ladder was on the wrong building! If you haven’t discovered the right reason to work, you may find yourself making money in a meaningless career or a barely tolerable job.
If you study the ancient Hebrew word “avodah,” you’ll find it translated as worship, service, craftsmanship, and work. The Creator God inspires his creation to work and worship, responses that overlap in the Hebrew Scriptures. The New Testament adds, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
Since you spend the majority of your waking hours at work, shouldn’t those prepared-beforehand works include your workplace? That doesn’t mean you do awkward things at work. It starts with simply looking for God there. Author Gregory F.A. Pearce says, “Most of us spend so much time working, it would be a shame if we couldn’t find God there… There is a creative energy in work that is somehow tied to God’s creative energy. If we can understand that connection, perhaps we can use it to transform the workplace into something remarkable.”
I heard Casey Cook, CEO of Cloud Control Media explain that it’s a mistake to think you must invent ways to integrate faith into work. Faith enters the workplace when the believer walks in. If your identity is in Christ, you don’t check that at the workplace door. When Jesus said “let your light shine,” surely he knew that would transform your workplace. It will affect the way you treat people, conduct yourself, and complete your work. “Do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men… It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Col. 3:23-24).
You serve Him in your workplace because He is there. Remember when He surprised his fishermen friends at work? He cooked breakfast for them on the beach. He shouted out for them to cast the net on the other side, and it worked. Startled, one of them said, “It’s the Lord!” It’s no surprise he was involved in their work because as Abraham Kuyper said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’ ”
Why do you work? When you apply yourself as employee, tradesman, contract labor, or boss, you are participating in the Divine plan. Your work contributes in some way, at some level, to human flourishing. This is your calling, to be about your Father’s business, expressing His love and creative energy to your fellow workers, customers, or clients. Clergy or laity, blue or white collar, corner office or cubicle-dweller, paid or volunteer, your high calling is to work as an act of worship.