Rhythmically Impaired: The Single Biggest Barrier to An Authentic Faith-Work Connection

Rhythmically Impaired: The Single Biggest Barrier to An Authentic Faith-Work Connection February 8, 2016


I have a rhythm problem. It’s not that I can’t dance or play the drums (in reality, I’m not good or comfortable at either activity). The problem is that the rhythm of my life, the beat, the pattern, the on and off flow, is overwhelmingly fast and frequently erratic. If the goal I set before me is living each day with a center grounded in God-defined reality, then the sobering truth is I can’t get there from here. I have a rhythm problem.


The Rhythmic Nature of Life with God

Right from the beginning, we see the biblical writers syncing up with the rhythms of the world: Evening and morning, the first day, etc., 6 days of work and then 1 of rest, and annual feasts.  In a world that included tools, mechanical devices, and machines (think Weavers looms, sailing ships, catapults, wagons, hammers, nails, and swords), Jesus chose agrarian imagery to describe life with God. He talked of farmers and seed, of taking up the yoke, and of bearing fruit. Life with God is rhythmic, woven into the ins and outs and ups and downs of days, weeks and years.  It grows as we grow patterns that form our thinking and our hearts towards him. We will never live out our kingdom calling in the workplace if we do not address the rhythms of our lives.


Adjusting Your Rhythms to the Beat of the Divine Drummer

 What is quenching any real sense of God’s purpose for, presence in, power for, and pleasure in your work? Perhaps it’s a maladapted rhythm, a pattern that does not include him, a beat that is not in sync with his.

  1. Somehow, during the course of every day, we need to remind ourselves of God’s words to us in Scripture (See Deuteronomy 6).
  2. Somehow, during the course of every day, we need to present celebrations, our wants, and ourselves to him (see Hebrews 4:14-15).
  3. Somehow, during the pattern of each week, we need 24 hours of true rest and spiritual replenishment (See Exodus 20)
  4. Somehow, in the midst of constant financial demands, we need to get into the rhythm of generosity (See 2nd Corinthians 9)
  5. Somehow, as we juggle countless demands, there must be time for spiritual community (See Hebrews 10:24-25).

There are so many tools and options for cultivating these things today, we can be exhausted by a wealth of resources. Truth is we can listen to the Bible on our commute and video chat into small groups—possibilities that weren’t even dreamed of a generation ago.

An occasional visit to a church on Sunday doesn’t change the rhythmic nature of your life. But strategically changing your life patterns is a way to alter the recipe of your life—we starve the patterns that pull us away from God and feed the ones that draw us closer. As we do, we find ourselves growing in a Godward direction, even in the midst of a challenging workplace.


Resources: Here are three links to subscriptions that provide a daily/weekly source of Scripture based thinking about faith and work.





A Key to Bridging the Vocational Divide

The vocational divide is the gap individuals live between their faith and work. It is a personal experience reinforced by systemic and institutional realities. Three broad areas of attention are required to form a bridge across the divide: thought, rhythms, and institutions. In this series, I’ve written about the need for faith, the recognition of Jesus expertise, and seeing church as kind of locker-room as three thought-shifts that cross the divide.  Prior posts have also addressed new thinking about our work lives to bridge the divide:

10 Reasons Your Work Matters To God

The Why Behind Your work

Why Your Pastor Doesn’t Talk About Your Work


Faith and Work Resources: I keep a current and curated list of great resources related to the faith and work conversation follow this link: Resources on Faith and Work  

About the Author:  Dr. Chip Roper writes Marketplace Faith from New York City, where he is the director of Marketplace Engagement at the New York City Leadership Center. You can learn more about him here. Chip is available for speaking, consulting, and coaching engagements. Inquire via email: croper@nycleadership.com.

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