Your Work Matters

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. (2 Cor. 5:20)

A recent Gallup poll found that 70% of Americans are disengaged at work. The cost of worker disengagement is hard to measure, but it’s estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars – about the size of the GDP of many countries.

The problem with worker disengagement for Christians is more than an economic problem, however. It is a theological problem and it is a heart problem. Going to work every day disengaged and miserable affects your relationship with your family, friends, community, and even God.

It also affects your influence. Here’s what I mean. Say you’re a plumber. You are one of these disengaged workers, so you show up more or less on time. Your mind is elsewhere. Your colleagues are an annoyance, and clients are a frustration. When problems arise, you are short-tempered because you don’t want to be there. And yet your coworkers see your Bible on your dashboard. What are they to make of this? Christians are lazy? Christians hate work? Christians are hypocrites?

I’m not here to guilt you into getting engaged at work. This is not a matter of will, it is a matter of understanding. If you reframe your understanding of work, it will literally change your life.

As a Christian, there are two things you must know about work:

1. Work is a gift. Immediately after God made Adam and Eve, he put them to work caring for his creation. He gave them dominion – leadership authority – over plants and animals. That’s work. Now remember The Garden is a place of complete harmony between God, man, and creation. Work was part of God’s perfect plan, and since the beginning we have been called to work for God’s glory and our flourishing. Regardless of whether your job is taking care of kids, fixing cars, or selling insurance it is a gift from God.

2. Work is ministry. There is something sacred about vocational ministry, and thus we must hold our full-time ministers in high regard. But we often forget vocational ministers are not tasked with the doing, but rather the equipping. They are, per Ephesians 4:12, to equip the rest of us so we can live as ambassadors for Christ to those God has placed in our lives. That means our family, friends, and yes – coworkers. There is no such thing as secular vocation to a Christ follower. Work is an opportunity to minister to broken and hurting people who, like us, need Jesus.

Friend, it is no accident that you work where you work with the people you work with. God has placed you there as His ambassador to bring order into chaos and peace into turmoil. He has called you there to live as light in the darkness and to spread the love of his rescuing gospel.

The 3 Benefits of Christian Creativity

For many years I hid my creativity. In high school, I loved to write. But when I grew up I found myself in a white collar corporate job, and I assumed people like me didn’t do creative things. People like me were too busy to draw, paint, dance, sing, or write. We had important stuff to attend to, like meetings and emails and…well, meetings and emails.

One cold morning while driving to the office God threw open a door and gently shoved me through it. It is hard to adequately explain the experience, but I felt a stirring in my soul to start writing. I prayed about it, sought counsel, and thought about it. After testing my motivation a bit, I decided this hunger to write was of God. So I began writing – which I had always loved to do – and eventually published my first book. That’s what it took for me, a prompting from God to get started.

I hope this post will be your prompting.

A lot of us think we aren’t creative. We have thus kept ourselves away from creative endeavors because of our self-image. Or maybe we’re self-conscious and don’t think anyone would care about our paintings or music or handmade furniture. In both cases, we’re wrong. We need to rewire our thinking.

We are made in the image of the supreme Creator. God created ex nihilo (“out of nothing”), which was the most creative act imaginable. While we build with secondhand materials: ideas, wood, paint, sounds, etc. – God created with no prior existing materials or even ideas. His brilliant mind thought everything up out of thin air, and thus the cosmos was made. Wouldn’t it be natural that we’d inherit a hint of his creative brilliance?

But wait a minute. You might be a step ahead of me. Aren’t some attributes of God communicable (shared with us humans) and some noncommunicable (not shared with us)? Yes, that is true. God alone is omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), and omnipresent (all-present). But there are many attributes of God which are shared with humanity. One such attribute is creativity – and there’s several reasons why.

2 Corinthians 5:20 says we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We are his flag-bearers and his messengers. We show the world what God is like and we are entrusted with the saving power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are heralders of his glory.

When Christ-followers pursue creativity, they bring a threefold blessing to God and God’s people:

  1. The creative act glorifies God. A beautiful song is a transcendent, worshipful experience. An excellent meal is a soulful event which should stimulate worship of God. Our creativity magnifies the God from which we come.
  1. By exploring our creativity, we explore our giftings. I have tried to learn the guitar and sing, but I sing like a wounded rhino. I feel more comfortable writing, and I believe writing is in sync with how God made me. I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t tried both singing and writing. Once we know our giftings, we can use and enjoy them for kingdom purposes.
  1. Creativity serves others. A good book will change your life. Movies can inspire and educate. Regardless of the medium, good creative works serve those who interact with them. As we pursue our creativity, we can aim our talents toward others to bless them.

You are creative. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old. It doesn’t matter who you’ve been thus far in your life or what you do for a living. You are creative. You may have to try a bunch of different things to figure out where you’re gifted or where you’re most stirred spiritually, but you have God-given creativity in your soul.

The first step is to start. Try something new. Play. Pray for God’s leading. And then run hard like a kid in a field. Pursue your dormant creativity for the glory of God and the good of others.