“One of the great challenges for everyone is finding a place in the world – seeing a lot, hearing a lot, reading a lot, and then deciding where we will be and what we will do. Knowing what we know, what will we do?” - Steven Garber, Visions of Vocation
“Knowing what we know, what will you do?” Garber’s question parallels the parable of the Good Samaritan. When the man was left half dead between Jerusalem and Jericho, the priest, Levite, and Samaritan all saw the depleted man. Yet, the priest and Levite chose not to engage in the brokenness. Instead, they continued on their journeys. When the Samaritan saw the man, he knew the man was hurt and in desperate need of help. With this knowledge, he chose to help the man. He brought the man to the inn and took care of him.
In Visions of Vocation, Steven Garber stresses the importance of engaging in the broken world around us, similar to how the Good Samaritan engaged with the hurt man. As Christians, he says “it is clear that the way we live shows what we believe.”
Through missional enterprise, we have a chance to live in a way that will demonstrate what we believe. As we see problems around the world, we get to engage and create positive social impact, financial sustainability, and spiritual transformation through business. Jesus’ Kingdom advances. As Garber exemplifies in his book, whether you have the desire to start a clinic in an area with inadequate healthcare, an agriculture business that treats employees fairly and grows crops honestly, or a climbing gym to build trust in a society where it is lacking, you get to create positive change that brings glory to God.
Just like the Good Samaritan, it is important to see the wounds of the world and to do something about it. Missional enterprise is one context that allows the Kingdom to salve the pain of the wounds.
What are some specific ways your business could see the world as it is and step into the brokenness to make an impact? What are ways you could be the Good Samaritan to the hurting in your community or around the world?
– GEN Desk Intern
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.
God's Presence in the Workplace
Originally published by Pat Flood, September 24, 2004, at www.billygraham.org.
Impacting communities by bringing jobs and dignity!
What other businesses do you think could provide TBL transformation?
Recent notes from Jerry White's presentation on, "A Minimalists Guide to Life at Work."
The bottom line for those who like to know the conclusion first! Our work needs: Calling, Excellence, Competence, Faithfulness (work hard), and Attitude.
The Theology of Work:
From the beginning: "The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Genesis 2:15 (NIV)
Commands and Limits: "Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest, you must rest.” Exodus 34:21 (NIV)
New Testament View: "Make it your ambition to lead a quite life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (NIV)
No work is secular: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23 (NIV)
Some specifics: "For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked day and night, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’ We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy, they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12 (NIV)
Pinpricks for Our Thinking:
Dig in for yourself! What does God reveal to you about himself, you, and work?
– Gen Desk Director