The “Z” Meeting
Many years ago, our church leadership team braved a snowstorm (6 inches or more) and held our regularly scheduled meeting. As is so often the case, we did not necessarily have a clear goal for the meeting. And so two thirds of the way into the conversation, snow piling up outside, one of our business guys asked, what’s the “Z” for this meeting. Then he schooled us by explaining that “Z” is the point, the end to which your are striving as in “A to Z.” At that point, the point became getting everyone home safely. What’s the “Z?” A great question, especially when it comes to our work.
The Kingdom is the “Z”
In Jesus terms, his kingdom is the Z. “Seek first the Kingdom of God” he commanded in Matthew 6. Jesus admits to Pilate that he is a king, that his kingdom is not of this world, and that it comes down to truth-everyone on the side of truth will recognize Jesus as king (John 18:37-37). Some of us may think this sounds a bit like Game of Thrones, a fantasy-like way to view reality. But Jesus saw this conflict of kingdoms as a very real dynamic that explains the world as it is and where the world is headed. His is a kingdom about truth, love, and power and he invites us to live in this kingdom now.
Ten More Ways to Chase the Kingdom “Z”
If any area of our lives can seem disconnected from a spiritual kingdom, work is top of the list. This is a concluding post of 3 which attempt to flesh out what it looks like to live in Jesus’ spiritual kingdom while we work in the midst of the physical kingdom of our world. In these posts we’ve featured Top 10 lists from Management Consultant Joyce Avedesian and from Pastor & Financial Advisory Peter Roselle.
Here’s a list of my own.
1. We live the kingdom at work when we embrace our daily work is part of God’s plan for the world. Through our work we follow the creation mandate of Genesis, leaning into our purpose as image bearers, being used by God to provide for humanity. Understanding the specific ways our specific work is part of this plan is our privilege as his children.
2. We live the kingdom at work when we embrace God’s ethical standards without becoming pharisee like (condescending, judgmental).
3. We live the kingdom at work, when we see everyone as a neighbor to love (clients, vendors, customers, colleagues, community where we are located).
4. We live the kingdom at work,when we gently and respectfully give an answer for the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15).
5. We live the kingdom at work when we fight for justice, for the right treatment of anyone connected with our firm, from raw materials providers to end users.
6. We live the kingdom at work when we celebrate the good we see in our work and coworkers. We may seem more value in what they do than they do. We can see work as connected to biblical themes of creation, redemption and love for neighbor, that our colleagues may not, and thus we infuse work with its intended meaning.
7. We live the kingdom at work when we approach people and problems with prayer.
8. We live the kingdom at work when we expect to see the fruit of the Spirit type of character in our lives.
9. We live the kingdom at work when we say no to ethical or time demands that would compromise our commitment to Christ.
10. We live the kingdom at work when we are willing to risk our jobs for kingdom gains.
A Better “Z”
Over the last 30+ years, it seems that the work-world has become more and more uncertain, fragmented, and competitive. Economic, technological, global, and cultural forces have mixed together to form this unstable cocktail. In Jesus, God offers us something more stable to work for behind the curtain of the work we do each day. It’s called the Kingdom and when we make our top priority, he promises to care of us. Jesus offers a better “Z.”
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. Chip is convinced that a central piece of God’s plan for any city or community is the work that people do each day. You can learn more about him here. Chip is available for speaking, consulting, and coaching engagements. Inquire via email: email@example.com.