Why does God’s presence in the workplace matter?
The Great Commission challenges all of us, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20, NIV).
The average adult is awake 16 hours a day: one hour to prepare for work, 30 minutes each driving to and from work, eight hours at work. That’s already 10 out of 16 hours. Let’s contrast that with the time we invest at church. For some people, it’s just an hour a week. The point? The majority of our life is invested in preparation for work and in doing it. That’s why God’s presence in the workplace matters.
God knew the struggle we were going to face in the workplace, so throughout Scripture He gave us clear instruction, warning and encouragement about our work.
Instruction: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24, NIV).
Warning: “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matthew 6:24, NIV).
Encouragement: “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25, NIV).
The workplace offers great opportunities to encourage those who know Christ and to witness to those who don’t.
I have heard many arguments about why God does not belong in the workplace. There is the legal argument. The “it might offend someone” argument. The “what gives you the right?” argument. I have even heard the “it might scare off customers or employees” argument.
But Jesus said, “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.” (Luke 12:8-9, NIV).
If I claim Christ, if I accept His offer of grace, I cannot leave Him in the car and spend the bulk of the day pretending I don’t know Him. Think of how Peter denied Jesus–is that any different from our daily failure to claim Him in the workplace?
The marketplace matters because God offered us His Son, the greatest Gift in history. And our acceptance of that Gift came with instructions: Every one of us is called to participate in the Great Commission. Every day in the workplace we have the opportunity to share that Gift with others. Be bold. Live your Christian faith every day. If we do that, we will affect the lives of many in the great harvest field that exists in the workplace.