Finding God’s purposes in your daily work. Finding your daily work in the purposes of God. As a pastor, this has never been a struggle for me (as a pastor there are other struggles related to God and work but that, perhaps, is for another day). For most other Christians, there can often be a disconnect between Sunday worship and the rest of the week, between their devotion and their vocation. Previously, I’ve shared how this is of concern for me as a pastor. Tim Keller’s new book, Every Good Endeavor, is a great help in this area. While the entire book is worthy, for ‘God + Work Wednesdays’ I’ll be concentrating on his list of eight ways to serve God through our work, (pg 22). The first of these ways to serve God through work is to further social justice in the world.
Social Justice – This can often be a junk drawer term that means everything and nothing. It can often be a label which Christians and non-Christians can place on a wide range of issues and causes. In the interests of being clear, a brief explanation from a Christian perspective might be this: The world is a good place. But…the world has gone wrong. God will set it right. His people can often be agents of that. Following the commands of God and Jesus will lead us to right wrongs and do right. Overly simplistic maybe, but it works for me. Important to remember about social justice is that God is all about it and He requires it of us.
How does furthering social justice relate to the Christian at work? Most obviously, there are some vocations which are directly involved with making the world a better place. Running an NGO, being a social worker, or a foster parent, or a community worker, etc… It may be obvious for jobs such as these how working at them serves God by serving the suffering, combatting injustices, and building better communities.
What about jobs less obviously socially oriented? What about the mill worker? Or the dentist? Or the financial sector worker? There may be jobs that are less obviously geared towards this sort of motivation but nevertheless there may be opportunities to further God’s purposes for the good of the entire community. A Christian jeweller may choose to use only diamonds imported from non-conflict zones. A Christian schoolteacher may look for ways to become involved in their student’s communities. Perhaps a factory worker will choose to speak up when some discriminatory practices found in her place of work. It may be that there are many avenues for righting wrongs and promoting the common good in any number of vocations.
What if furthering social justice is the only way to serve God at work? This would be bad. It would prioritize the kinds of work which are oriented towards social justice. It would also diminish the many other ways that Christians can find God through their vocations. Good thing it is not the only way to serve the Lord. Finding God in our work means doing His will through what we do during our working hours. Next week we’ll look at another way to serve Him in the workplace.
What about you? How does your work afford you opportunity to further social justice? How do you see this as service to God?