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Your Work is Worship

August 3, 2010

One Sunday morning a couple of years ago, my church announced a new program discussing “Faith in the Workplace.” Although I had never thought much about this subject, I was intrigued and decided to check it out, along with many other career-oriented congregants.

My church is located in a bucolic, historically-preserved town that happens to be a stone’s throw from the pharmaceutical Mecca of the Northeast, and is also within commuting distance from both New York City and Philadelphia. Needless to say, we are a church community filled with our fair share of corporate management-types.

Once the appointed day arrived and the group had settled in to their seats, the speaker opened the session by asking a very simple question:

“What is the purpose of your work?”

A very simple question, indeed. However, this particular cross-section of intelligent, successful, ambitious men and women from my very sophisticated church were immediately stumped, and sat in embarrassing silence for a few moments. 

The speaker prodded us a bit, and one by one we began to speak up, mumbling something in hopes of having the right answer.

“Um, to provide for my family?” offered one brave soul, rather tentatively.

“To make money,” another coughed out.

“To be a good steward!” shouted one suck-up from the back, who was really only repeating something he had heard in last week’s sermon.

The speaker was quick to chastise us for our limited spiritual vision, and pointed out that the purpose of our work was instead to glorify God.

The purpose of my work is to glorify God? 

I knew that.  I had just forgotten about it.

To continue reading this post, click here to join me at The High Calling Blogs.

Photo by Kicki.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2010 6:49 am

    I know when I had that lightbulb moment, it was just a little flicker — it was a full spotlight. My work isn’t just so I can have stuff — it’s so I can glorify my God. I’ll never forget when I realized that.

  2. August 3, 2010 9:29 am

    I read the rest of the article over at HCB…and I rambled on and on, so much so that I probably should have just written you an email note. Sorry.

    Now that I visit your site, and I have been here before, I see that I should spend some time gathering your work in a paper print-out bouquet for my husband. Thank you for all you do in shining God’s light on the union of work and faith.

    Blessings.

  3. August 3, 2010 8:15 pm

    That photo reminds me of Alain de Botton. I loved that book, btw. Read it at your recommendation here and am going to do it for my Social Issues book club this Fall.

    • August 4, 2010 5:30 am

      Yes, it’s very “industrial”-looking, isn’t it? That’s why I chose it. Contrast to the brightness of glory, yet it all goes to the same place.

      And that book iwill make for an interesting book club discussion. Wish I could join you!

      How’s your new book-that-you’re-not-writing coming along?

  4. August 4, 2010 2:11 am

    work. now there’s a four letter word for you.
    and who doesn’t think about compensation?
    we trade work for something.
    not always dollars and cents, but, something.

    how is that different than anything else?
    we all expect something out of everything we do.
    we expect reason, meaning, love, attention, interaction…more things than i can imagine to list
    here, we expect it. we would like to think that what we do brings glory to God.
    how do sinners bring glory to God, all powerful God that is Himself Glory.
    the best we can do is to talk to God about thinking we could possibly do anything of the sort.
    and then to thank Him for his glorious grace upon us. what we can do is do whatever we do, knowing that He is doing the real work and we are getting off easy.

    I love you bj, and God is working in and through you. He loves you dearly and always has.
    we are what we are, and God loves us. He wants us to talk to Him about it all. He just wants
    us us to care, talk, listen, interact, communicate, Love, thank, appreciate, respect, Him. and realize
    that he is God.

    • August 4, 2010 5:28 am

      You speak divine truth here, nance.

      I think it is true – that with almost everything we do, we expect something. We are such complicated creatures. But at least we’re trying!

      Thanks for the kindness.

      • August 4, 2010 1:15 pm

        i am glad that i can relate what i am thinking and you don’t treat me
        like a freak of some kind. i appreciate that.

        i wonder sometimes if our “hearts” are in tune to the longings and desires
        of God for a relationship with us…and it gets a little haywired in the spiritual battle
        that is taking place. then a little more mixed up with us trying to make human sense of it
        in what we can see and feel, and in our daily life, and add to that the questions about who we are and what we do, etc etc…

        i have another thing to say that is related yet, i think it best i get back to on that one.

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