And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:17 NKJV
Spiritual practice isn’t just about some quiet isolated, meditative time we spend locked away. It’s about real life. Really.
As the fall season begins and we head back to work, school or some combination of the two it’s good to think afresh about what we do.
Do we do it just for grades or a paycheque?
Do we try to please our bosses or teachers or profs? I know a lot of people pleasers and count myself as one. But hey, who doesn’t want to do a good job and get affirmed for it? Okay, that’s the people pleaser in me justifying his behaviour. Sorry.
Or do we do it as if we’re working for God?
If this is a new concept then it’s one to consider strongly as you enter this new season of work. Too often we rate church work or formal ministry as somehow more godly than a regular day-to-day job. But that’s now how it should be.
Think of God’s charge to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden to tend the garden and steward the creation they were a part of. It wasn’t a “church ministry” or a mission project. But it’s a task given by God and it’s not less important than someone who preaches sermons or travels around the world of emissions.
You probably prayed for the job you have, hoping you would get it. And then you got it, so that’s a task from God for you. You probably have other things God wants you to do but don’t low rate your daily work.
The apostle Paul was a tentmaker by trade and we don’t see him running down the job that kept him fed as he travelled planting churches and ministering to people. He didn’t slag his job as beneath him compared to spreading the gospel.
One way to work as if working for God is to actually pray for your work daily as you begin or as you go about it. I’ve found that really helps me to remember that it’s not just about a paycheque or putting food on the table. How I work reflects on how I treat and worship God. By working to the best of my ability (which God has given me) I’m worshipping God in my work.
I’ve used this approach in everything from stocking shelves, driving a school bus, preaching a message, counselling at camp and selling stuff. And if I give the results to God it will impact how hard I work, what results I accept and I believe it will improve my results as well.
And of course, there’s the point that praying for your work and your coworkers as well as the people you serve will help your attitude in your work. I think you’ll find you’re a better employee to be around if you’re praying. And honestly, I think it will help make your coworkers and customers more bearable. One friend of mine started praying for a coworker and after a week or so remarked that now she didn’t hate her as much as she used to. It got even better as time went on.
And praying about our work changes us.
There was the time I did a half hearted job at work. And I knew it. I knew what I had done wasn’t right and it made more work for the next guy.
Oh, and then I heard that the next guy was really angry at me and to quote another worker, “you’re in big trouble!” And this “next guy” was bigger than me and kind of intimidating. Dumb to tick him off right? Yes, and I KNEW I was wrong.
So, I prayed about it and the I went to the guy the next day and apologized. I confessed that I was not thinking about anyone but myself and that I was wrong. Rather than getting some kind of reprisal, physical or verbal, he accepted my apology and we actually had a better relationship from then on.
Back in church history, celtic monks used to pray over their work saying things like, “I make this bed in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”. That would inspire you not to do a sloppy job I’ll bet!
So, as you go to school or work this week what about giving your efforts and the results to God. Pray as you go, as you take on your tasks and as you seek to accomplish your tasks.