How can a Christian make a difference at work? How can we bring order out of chaos? How can we bring peace, hope, and truth into an environment of discord, despair, and relativism?
I addressed the topic of bringing righteousness and reformation to the workplace in my book, Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession. I brought together some great Scriptures and several quotes from a variety of writers and speakers. God used these truths to challenge me to boldly be Christ’s representative in my own job.
I would like to share some excerpts from my book. I am hoping they will inspire you to walk in Jesus’ resurrection power to bring His peace to a world that so desperately needs it.
It all belongs to God
A few years ago, I heard a powerful message on the Focus on the Family radio program given by Grammy award-winning Christian hip-hop artist Lecrae at Liberty University. He spoke on the topic of engaging our culture. I was moved to tears. The verse he quoted several times is Psalm 24:1, which says, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.”
Here is a transcript of a portion of this message:
“God gives us this cultural mandate to subdue the earth. We are called to build this alternative city. What does it look like when we have healthy families, when we have biblical views on business and economics and law and politics? We’ve redeemed them instead of letting Satan, the prince of power, just drain the life out of them. These things belong to God. Economics belongs to God. Politics belong to God. Family belongs to God. Medical science belongs to God. God created science! So we go into culture and say, “This is not yours, Satan. This is not yours, world, flesh. This belongs to God.” And I am a representative of His kingdom here, to demonstrate what it looks like when a redeemed person enters the workplace and says, ‘This belongs to my God!’”
Did you get his point?
Through our faith in Jesus Christ, we have been redeemed so that we can go into all areas of society to bring Jesus’s message into our workplaces through our words and actions. Satan, the flesh, and the world may have corrupted much of what we see around us, at least temporarily. But since it all belongs to God, we can be salt and light, do things the way they were meant to be done, God’s way, and turn things around for everyone’s benefit.
Many speakers I have heard over the last few years quote Abraham Kuyper from a speech he gave in the late 1800s: “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: Mine!”
God’s charge to the exiles in Babylon
A passage that I kept running into in my research for the book was Jer. 29:4-7. God gave the exiles a somewhat surprising exhortation, telling them to build houses, plant gardens, get married and have children, and thus increase their numbers. Yahweh continues His ironic commandment to His people taken to a strange land. He says that the Israelites should “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (verse 7).
Hugh Whelchel, Executive Director of the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, in his book, How Then Should We Work?, wisely ties this passage in with the cultural mandate from Genesis 1:28. He points out the clear connection between the command to Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply” with the command to the Babylonian exiles to “build houses and settle down” or “marry and have sons and daughters” (Jeremiah 29:5–6). He also sees that as they “seek the peace and prosperity of the city” (Jeremiah 29:7), they are also exercising “subduing” and “ruling” functions. He says that by doing so, they are “reweaving Shalom.” I absolutely love this insight!
Whelchel continues, “God meant them to be a blessing to the world even while they lived in Babylon. God intends the same for us. We are called to work for the shalom of the city, whatever or wherever that city is, where God has put us. We are to be a blessing in our time and place. This is possible only because we have found our identity in Christ, the Prince of Shalom.”
Whelchel spurs us on with this statement: “Motivated by the Cultural Mandate and inspired by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, through our vocational calling we have the opportunity to transform our communities, our nation, and the world. Our effectiveness will provide a catalyst for sustained cultural renewal.” Amen!
How do we do this?
Sherman and Hendricks, in Your Work Matters to God, offer this challenge to the average worker, which I used to read when I taught on this topic many years ago. It still resonates now.
“The key to bringing the culture and the Church back together; to renewing the workplace and reforming the Church; to choosing Christ as the Lord of life, rather than leaving Him out of the system—may well be a movement of people who are known for their hard work, for the excellence of their effort, for their honesty and unswerving integrity, for their concern for the rights and welfare of people, for their compliance with laws, standards, and policies, for the quality of their goods and services, for the quality of their character, for the discipline and sacrifice of their lifestyle, for putting work in its proper perspective, for their leadership among coworkers – in short, for their Christlikeness on and off the job. What could an army of such workers accomplish?”
Just like the Israelites that God sent into exile, God sends us exactly where He needs us to go in the power of the Holy Spirit as Christ’s representatives so that we can do what He needs us to do with those who need the work we will provide.
I trust these concepts will encourage you and give you a vision of how God can use you in your ordinary professions, which are indeed sacred if your work is done for God’s glory. God’s presence in our work will make a difference in the people and the institutions where He sends us.