Does Your Work Matter to God?

By Mark Greene   •   September 4, 2009   •   Topics:

Why does work matter? Why does the workplace matter? What ministry opportunities does the workplace present? And why might it be the great mission field of the 21st century?

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23, NIV).

This verse is not necessarily about church work or evangelism or any of the jobs that we tend to affirm in the Christian subculture. It’s a clear reference to all forms of work.

The King of the universe would not ask us to do “whatever” we do “with all our heart” if it weren’t of some significance to Him. Work is a component of our service—of our worship. And it is one of God’s instruments to get the things done that He wants done—feeding us, providing us with shelter, getting us education, enabling us to enjoy the arts and enabling us to give those things to other people.

Through work, God gives us the opportunity to give Him praise for the way He has made us.

But why don’t we see that “ordinary” work is so significant to the Creator-Worker God? Because of the sacred/secular divide. This pervasive mindset suggests that some aspects of our lives, such as Bible reading and prayer, are really important to God and that others, such as work and study, are at best neutral.

This leads to a view that pastors are most special to God. Slightly below pastors are missionaries and full-time Christian workers. Then come tentmakers—builders, mechanics, midwives, teachers, engineers, accountants—those people in the church who take their skills overseas to reach people for Christ through those occupations. For example, if you go to work for IBM in Saudi Arabia, the whole church will probably pray for you, and your picture may well be on the wall. But what happens if you work for IBM in Connecticut? Nothing. Or maybe you’re just a “walking checkbook.”

We’ve lost the sense that someone can be called to a so-called secular job—as were Joseph, Daniel and Nehemiah—and that it may be just as strategic in God’s plan as pastoring a church.

The Ultimate Mission Field

Mission research reveals that the key element in most people’s conversion to Christianity is a relationship with a person.

In the workplace you have relationships—lots of them. And in the workplace people can see the difference that Jesus makes in your life because everything is the same—the boss, the corporate culture, the industry pressure—everything except Jesus in you. If you lose your temper people see it: Do you apologize, or don’t you apologize? You get promoted and you don’t deserve it; you get promoted and you do deserve it—how do you handle it?

In the workplace, the average Christian knows 50 non-Christians. And in the workplace Christians spend a lot of time with non-Christians—far more time, perhaps, than they’ll spend with even their best friends. And they’ll spend time with people from all kinds of ethnic backgrounds and from different age groups, which they may not do in their leisure time.

Sadly, many Christians have not seen the fantastic opportunity that God has for them. A while back, I met a woman, about 50 years old, who worked at a hospital. She said, “I’ve been working for 17 years, and only in the past year or so have I recognized my workplace as a place of ministry. How many Christians die without realizing the ministry God has for them?”

The fact that the average Christian spends 40 hours a week with about 50 people is hugely significant. Many Christians don’t even know that they’re making a difference. Little things make a difference—a note, a smile, a cup of coffee, a chocolate bar.

The relationships Christians have with the people around them are key to reaching the world for Christ.

The Lord Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough” (Matthew 13:33, NIV). God transforms our will, our mind, our emotions, our body—everything. And He yearns to transform society and workplaces.

We are called not just to be salt and light, which are essentially passive, but to be yeast—active agents of transformation. And Christians are in the right places to reach this nation—and, indeed, the world.

Billy Graham on Work

*Read biblical insights from Billy Graham as he answers work- and career-related questions:

Finding Satisfaction After Retirement
I suppose I spent most of my working years griping about my job and looking forward to retirement, but now that it’s here I feel at loose ends and don’t know what to do with myself. Some of my former co-workers say the same thing. Why am I not satisfied? — G.McN.
Read more »

Get Encouragement During Unemployment
Our town has had some real problems with unemployment, and it’s been more than a year since I’ve had a job. I feel so useless and hopeless. Maybe you can give me some encouragement. No one else has been able to. — D.W.S.
Read more »

Dealing With a Difficult Supervisor?
I’ve had some bad bosses in the past but my present one is the worst. No matter what we do, he always finds something wrong with it and never thanks us for what we did right. The situation is very stressful. Should I just quit? — K.F.
Read more »

Have Discernment Regarding Your Professional Life
I lost my job a few weeks ago, and I can’t decide what to do next. My choices are to take a job that’s been offered to me (at less pay), or else dip into my savings and take some job training at our local community college. What would you do if you were in my shoes? — W.L.
Read more »

How to share the Gospel at Work
I work in an office of mostly younger people who have absolutely no interest in God. They don’t have any objection if someone like me wants to be a Christian but they’re just too wrapped up in their own interests to think about God. How do you share the Gospel with someone like this? — Mrs. N.N.
Read more »

Dealing With Depression During Unemployment
I’ve been unemployed for over a year, and I’ve given up even looking for a job. My life seems so hopeless. All I do is sit around the house and watch television while my wife nags me to get a job. How can I get out of this pit? — D.C.
Read more »

God Cares About Your Career Choices
Do you believe God has a plan for each person, and when we ask Him, He’ll tell us which way we ought to go? I’m facing a major decision in my career right now, but to be honest I’m not sure if God cares which choice I make. Am I wrong about this? — K.R.
Read more »

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published but you will receive our next BGEA ministry update. You can opt out of future emails at any time.