How to Glorify God in Your Work
Remember this: Work is not the purpose of your life. That would be idolatry. The nature of your work and your success in it must never be the measure of your worth as a person. Your identity and value are grounded in the gospel, not your productivity. Work is not a way for you to “prove” yourself, but a means by which you glorify God. Continue reading . . .
Remember this: Work is not the purpose of your life. That would be idolatry. The nature of your work and your success in it must never be the measure of your worth as a person. Your identity and value are grounded in the gospel, not your productivity. Work is not a way for you to “prove” yourself, but a means by which you glorify God. When your “appropriate ambition” becomes your “misplaced salvation,” you are guilty of idolatry (Tim Keller, Every Good Endeavor / Kindle, 103).
In my recent study of the subject of “work” I came across an insightful blog post by John Piper, titled “How to Glorify God at Work” (September 6, 2011; www.desiringgod.org). I thought it would be helpful to make it available here.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” How can young workers glorify God at work?
Dependence. Go to work utterly dependent on God (Proverbs 3:5-6; John 15:5). Without him you can’t breathe, move, think, feel, or talk. Not to mention be spiritually influential. Get up in the morning and let God know your desperation for him. Pray for help.
Integrity. Be absolutely and meticulously honest and trustworthy on the job. Be on time. Give a full day’s work. “Thou shalt not steal.” More people rob their employers by being slackers than by filching the petty cash.
Skill. Get good at what you do. God has given you not only the grace of integrity but the gift of skills. Treasure that gift and be a good steward of those skills. This growth in skill is built on dependence and integrity.
[Dorothy Sayers is helpful here: “The church’s approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to exhorting him to not be drunk and disorderly in his leisure hours and to come to church on Sundays. What the church should be telling him is this: that the very first demand that his religion makes upon him is that he should make good tables” (Creed or Chaos, 56-7).
Corporate shaping. As you have influence and opportunity, shape the ethos of the workplace so that the structures and policies and expectations and aims move toward accordance with Christ. . . .
Impact. Aim to help your company have an impact that is life-enhancing without being soul-destroying. Some industries have an impact that is destructive (e.g., porn, gambling, abortion, marketing scams, etc). But many can be helped to turn toward impact that is life-giving without being soul-ruining. As you have opportunity, work toward that.
Communication. Work places are webs of relationships. Relationships are possible through communication. Weave your Christian worldview into the normal communications of life. Don’t hide your light under a basket. Put it on the stand. Winsomely. Naturally. Joyfully. Let those who love their salvation say continually, Great is the Lord! (Psalm 40:16).
Love. Serve others. Be the one who volunteers first to go get the pizza. To drive the van. To organize the picnic. Take an interest in others at work. Be known as the one who cares not just about the light-hearted weekend tales, but the burdens of heavy and painful Monday mornings. Love your workmates, and point them to the great Burden Bearer.
[The question isn’t: How can I make the most money and achieve the greatest status. Rather: “How, with my existing abilities and opportunities, can I be of greatest service to other people, knowing what I do of God’s will and of human need?” (Keller, 67). In other words, if you have to choose between a job that pays more and benefits people less vs. one that pays less and benefits people more, choose the latter.]
Money. Work is where you make (and spend) money. It is all God’s, not yours. You are a trustee. Turn your earning into the overflow of generosity in how you steward God’s money. Don’t work to earn to have. Work to earn to have to give and to invest in Christ-exalting ventures. Make your money speak of Christ as your supreme Treasure.
Thanks. Always give thanks to God for life and health and work and Jesus. Be a thankful person at work. Don’t be among the complainers. Let your thankfulness to God overflow in a humble spirit of gratitude to others. Be known as the hope-filled, humble, thankful one at work.