Confessions of a Verse Hijacker
Most of my career has been as a pastor. Recently, as I was prepping for a short talk for a group of businessmen, I realized I had hijacked a statement from one of Paul’s letters, narrowly defining the work portion of the comments for churchly ends.
Here’s the quote:
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10)
When I imagined the good works God had prepared for people in my congregation, I imagined them serving at the church, being generous with their money, perhaps even sharing their faith or helping the poor. I never imagined doing good work each day at their jobs as part of the good works God had planned.
But upon reflection I realized its better to see that God is the giver and planner of a variety of good works for us to do, including the actual jobs we work each day.
A Job Well Done
On the last evening of Jesus’ life, he said the following words in a prayer:
I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do (John 17:4)What kind of work matters to God? Simply this; the work he gave us to do. Certainly that work includes participating in a faith community, loving our neighbors, being generous with our time. And it also includes the work we do each day.
Not just the way we go about our work.
Not just the way we treat the people we interact with at work.
But the actual work—the work he has given us to do.
- What if we assumed the job we have today is the work God has given us to do for now (unless it’s overtly evil)?
- What if we viewed that job as part of God’s plan for our lives?
- What if we viewed ourselves as God’s masterpieces, sent into that work space of challenge and productivity, of success and failure, of exhilarating achievements and stress inducing risks?
We’d connect to the idea that our work mattered to God.
And if it matters to God, then our work matters.