What do you do when God seems absent from your work?

What do you do when God seems absent from your work? July 20, 2014

The Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics has been reflecting on that question over at their blog:

What should our response be when we don’t feel like Jesus Christ is present in our work? Many tasks feel wholly separate from Christ’s great commission in our lives. Our jobs often feel mundane or lacking in holy purpose .

This is an issue many of us struggle with, and Taylor Barkley of IFWE has a few Biblical principles to help:

1) Your work connects to the Great Commission.

In the great commission, Christ promised to always be with us. Christ is with us whether we feel his presence or not. It’s often hard to see the connection between our work and Christ’s work in the great commission, but they’re connected.  In doing your work, you’re partaking in the cultural mandate given to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28. Many theologians have argued that the great commission is a restatement of the cultural mandate.

That doesn’t mean not to evangelize, but it means simply working with excellence is also part of God’s will for us in the world to help spread the Gospel.

2) Not every trade is blessed.

There are indeed jobs where Christ is not present in the sense of blessing the work or having ordained it. The trades of assassins, sex trafficking, or prostitution, for instance, are not in line with how God wants us to use our skills and our bodies…. There are markets where our sinful nature has overridden and perverted the created intent.

A sense that Christ is not present in this work (though he is always present desiring to save and bless the folks doing the work) is an accurate sign that the person needs to leave that trade–and often will need the help of the Christian community to do so.

3) Cultivate a relationship with Christ in your whole life.

Like a relationship with another human being, we should not expect to feel close or connected with someone with whom we haven’t spent time. Additionally, we should ask God to give us ears, eyes, and a heart to sense his presence.

That will make it easier to see Jesus at work in your work.

More on this, and many posts on related topics, including lots of tips on how to find meaning in your work, at the IFWE Blog. Check them out!

Image: “Faith” by Hannah Clark, used under a Creative Commons license.

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