For most of us, we spend more of our waking hours at our job than any other area. Does God care about our actions at work?
Scripture offers ample information to encourage us to use our vocation as a mission. These five principles highlight some ideas we can put into practice to serve the Lord and influence the lives of others.
Practice 1: Work Like God Created Your Job—Because He Did
When God created Adam in the Garden of Eden, He gave him work to do. This was before sin entered humanity, indicating work is part of God’s “good” creation (Genesis 1:28; 2:15).
Our job is not a judgment; it should be a joy. We may not always enjoy our work, but we can remember God has given us work as part of His plan for our lives.
Practice 2: Work Like Your Family Depends on It—Because It Does
The income you make from your job is essential to meeting your daily needs and the needs of your family. God designed our lives to include work that benefits our lives and the lives of others.
1 Thessalonians 4:11 teaches “…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you.” We don’t work just to make money; we have a higher purpose of caring for our daily needs, those of our family, and the ability to give to help others. This include meeting practical needs and sharing the gospel through our local church and other ministry opportunities.
Practice 3: Work Like God Is Your Boss—Because He Is
When the apostle Paul spoke to Christians living in slavery, he taught, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free” (Ephesians 6:7-8). The same concept applies to our work. We serve as if we are serving God in our job, because we are.
If we work like God is our boss, it changes our attitude in many important ways. We seek to benefit of our boss, desire to make the best use of our time, and work to represent our boss well before others. The prophet Daniel serves as a powerful example in this area. Despite serving an ungodly king, he was well-respected for his integrity and the quality of his work.
Practice 4: Work Like You Are a Missionary—Because You Are
Jesus taught, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Whether at work or elsewhere, we are called to live in a way that attracts people to the God we serve.
In one sense, we are missionaries and our work is a mission field. If we enter our job each day with this attitude, we’ll watch our lives closely, seeking to honor God and transform the lives of those around us.
Practice 5: Keep Working Until God Calls You Home
Many people have the faulty idea that our career ends at a certain age, whether 65 or 70 or some other magic number. However, God calls us to serve Him all our days. We don’t “retire” from our work of serving the Lord, even if we need to change our pace or type of work over time.
In the Old Testament, Caleb was known for serving God wholeheartedly. Part of why he was honored was due to his pursuit of God in his old age. He worked to claim the land of Israel well into his 80s!
Speaking of 80s, Moses did not even begin his work of leading the Israelites out of Egypt until he was 80. Many biblical leaders saw their greatest work take place at the end of their lives rather than during their younger years.
Rather than working toward retirement, work toward refinement. In other words, seek how God would have you to work as you enter different ages where your current job may no longer be the best fit.
Even if you officially retire from one career, you can dedicate your time and energy to other godly pursuits, whether mission work, local outreach, a part-time job that makes an impact, or even serving your extended family, such as your children or grandchildren.
Our work is a large part of our witness. When we live out our biblical principles in our workplace, others will see Jesus in us. Our lives can make a great impact through how we serve each day, knowing God can change lives through our daily actions in supernatural ways.