Did your work express your faith today?

Too often we create an artificial dichotomy in which we divide what is spiritual and what is “secular.”  Personally, I think if we are spiritual beings, then everything in our lives is spiritual.  I’m not a person of faith for 58 minutes on Sunday morning and then just a worker bee the rest of the week.  My work should be an expression of my faith.  And trust me, what I’m doing on Thursday morning tells people more about what I believe and value than looking at the back of my head for a few minutes on Sunday.

Our work is our best opportunity to live out our “calling.”  It’s where we should get a sense of peace, accomplishment and joy.  And it’s definitely our greatest opportunity for true “ministry.”  We should accept the challenge to use our strongest skills and talents in our daily work.  We will experience that sweet spot we all crave – and we will find financial rewards that show up in unexpected ways.

In 1942 Dorothy Sayers wrote an essay titled Why Work.  Here’s a quick segment from that essay:

How can anyone remain interested in a religion which seems to have no concern with nine-tenths of his life?  The Church’s approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to exhorting him not to 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.

So are you making good tables or just collecting a paycheck?

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  • Terry Hadaway

    Dan, thanks for your thoughts. Many churches are in the business of collecting people for no apparent reason. If churches would empower rather than entertain, our communities would feel the effect. As it is, many churches should be featured on an episode of the television show, Hoarders! As believers, we must be planted in fertile, deep soil; not a shallow pot! http://wp.me/p2fSH9-5b

  • John

    It’s almost as if we assume as a Christian culture group that God didn’t really plan things out. We just wander through life purposeless. Don’t you think the same God who wrote out the most amazing plan/story of all time has a purpose and plan for his entire creation?

  • Agreed. We must do our work for a higher purpose. Our values and vision must be attached to our day to day activities.

  • MarkJCundiff

    Dan,

    If more Christ-followers understood this and lived this out our world would have a completely different picture of Christian and Church! May we each contribute to changing attitudes and behaviors in this arena in the days ahead.

    Mark J. Cundiff

  • Dan, I wish you could come preach this in my church! Too many people are content to pretend like their work has nothing to do with their faith and life, FALSE!

  • Christine Beeby Odle

    Dan,  I LOVE this post!  Well said!

  • MikeCopelin

    Dan,
     
    This is so true and if truth be told many of us have been guilty of this ourselves.  I’ve heard Andy Stanley say that the word “Christian” should be used as a noun, not an adjective.  I think a lot of people go to church on Sunday because it is one more thing to cross off their list.  If we are spiritual beings at all times then Sundays are just a way to praise God w/fellow spiritual people, not the only time we push the spiritual button.

  • Very,  very true, Dan. When we try to separate life into “sacred” and “secular”, we run into trouble. God created us as a unified whole, and what happens when you try to segment a whole into parts? You damage it, even break it. The same is true when we do that to our lives.

  • Dr. Deana Murphy

     Jesus said in Matthew 20:26, “…But whoever desires to become great among
    you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among
    you. Let him be your slave.” What Jesus is telling us is true greatness
    in God’s kingdom comes through sacrificial service.  Therefore, the
    measure of our satisfaction and fulfillment is in how we serve. So what
    do we serve with? We serve with what God has given us and that’s our
    gifts, skill, talents! And where do we serve our gifts, skills and talents…in the marketplace. A house divided will not stand. We simply cannot segment the “who” from the “what.” Thank you for this post, Dan.

  • Kdbonham

    Francis Schaeffer talked about a false view of spirituality (a “platonic” view —- as in following Plato) where we take all that’s spiritual and put it into a little box and set it aside and everything else is secular. What Schaeffer said is the Bible is 1000% opposite this.  God tells us what is sinful  (with the admission that we’re not perfect)  and we set THOSE inside the box and set them aside … and EVERYTHING ELSE  is spiritual.  In other words, Christ isn’t just the God of the church, he is God of ALL.  Whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.

  • Dan, I retired from a career in Human Resources a few years ago. After a few years of true retirement, I didn’t feel fulfilled. I put together a course and began teaching a leadership principles based on the successes and failures I have witnessed. I also give keynotes with “Mr. HR With A Guitar” thrown in. They are both based on sowing good seeds so I named my company Accountable Seedership Coaching.  I ran into a friend the other day and they asked me why I was doing what I was doing after retiring? I thought that I needed to answer that question for me as well as her. This was my answer: 1. I absolutely love it. 2. HR and leadership have been such a major part of my life, I feel I am good at it. (Much more than 10,000 hour rule here) 3. I feel I am making a contribution to the world. 4. I receive money for doing it. I asked her, “isn’t that why you do what you do?” I got the “deer in the headlights” look from her. So many people do what they do for #4 only. When this occurs, the odds of #1, 2, or three occurring are slim and none. Thank you for what you do and may all of us “make good tables” for the rest of our life. 

  • Wonderful observation Dan. 

    Another interesting piece, at least for me, is that when the word “ministry” comes up in coaching or in conversation, a lot of people (not everyone fortunately), gravitate their thinking toward doing work or activities that will keep not only them poor, but also the people they are “serving”. 

    My personal belief – Ministry should elevate all involved. 

    • 48DaysDan

      Joel – wow, that’s powerful, and so true!

  • linda likens

    Thih is Linda Likens. I work in home health care as a care taker and cleaning person. I wouldn’t trade the time with my dear clients for a pot of gold… Life is what you make it…we should all be content with what talents God has given us…