The Christian Purpose of Work - Part 2
Building God’s Kingdom in the workplace
Let's get a few things straight about working for His Kingdom:
It's something that we do personally that we expend energy on - 'the sweat of our brow’.
It builds His kingdom, not ours.
Its focus is on those around us that don't know our Father - exactly the same focus that Jesus had.
So how does this relate to the job we do and where we work?
The Bible has many examples, such as Joseph and Daniel, of how God used people's everyday jobs to build His kingdom. Both had jobs they didn't seek and yet because they recognised their life was about building God’s kingdom, they prospered. This can be seen by their attitude to work, their colleagues, and their ‘managers’, which God was then able to use for His purpose. Despite being unjustly accused, they still worked with an attitude of responsibility and without complaint.
Building His kingdom where we work is part of our worship to our loving Father. Like Joseph and Daniel, it comes with 3 specific responsibilities:
1. To be the best we can possibly be.
Colossians 3:23. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,”
How would Jesus work at your workplace? Would he steal, do the minimum, go home early, complain or undermine the boss? Being the best we can is not only good for our career prospects, but will get us noticed for all the right reasons.
Joseph and Daniel primarily had the roles they ended up with, not only because of God’s favour, but also because they had trained for them and completed their training with a right attitude. The jailer would never have put a moaning Joseph, who could have rightly complained about his misfortune in life, in front of Pharaoh. And Pharaoh would never have put Joseph in charge of his storehouses unless he had experience in Potiphar’s house and in running the jail.
2. To actively support your boss.
Hebrews 13:17. “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.”
We have a duty of care for our boss and the people they work for. Yes, that includes the tyrants as well. Remember we are not in this battle alone – we work in partnership with the Holy Spirit. Our role is to be the best and to support our boss, to help them become the best at their role. We often have no idea of what the Holy Spirit is doing in other people’s lives, or the part we play in the overall outcome.
I once worked for a manager who was a bully and who would try and intimidate people if you crossed him. We had a situation where he wanted me to lie to a customer, which I refused to do but offered to spend time with them to put the problem right (which he had caused). He didn’t like the idea and offered me £2,000 to lie. I refused so he offered me £10,000, which again I refused. He then threatened to fire me – but I wouldn’t budge – not because I was being awkward, but because there was a much better course of action.
He relented and let me fix the problem, which took many months of hard work. Later on the manager was promoted, partly of the success of the project that I had managed to fix. In return he promoted all his ‘mates’, and to my surprise he promoted me as well, despite the many clashes I had with him throughout the year. When I asked him about the promotion he told me that I was the only person he could trust – all his ‘mates’ would always agree with him, which he recognised wasn’t always good for his own career.
I’m reminded of the scripture in Luke 16:10:
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
Always act in a way that supports your boss in their role, and never undermine them.
3. To make disciples.
At work we are the representatives of Jesus - His hands, His feet and His mouth. We are on display and our work colleagues will ascribe to God what they see in us. The Bible promises us that when we work diligently and in a right attitude, people will ask us why we do it that way. Our role is to then explain our faith in God and how it motivates us. If we have set a good example and have been there for colleagues when they are in trouble, we will make disciples.
I was never a person to ‘ram’ Bible verses or my faith down peoples’ throats. I always tried to treat everyone as a valued person and would tell people about my faith if asked. I spoke a couple of times about my faith to one of my team members, but never thought any more about it. When he left, I was going through some of his business documents when I came across a booklet on being a Christian. It was part of a course and he had written about how he came to faith in Christ. To my amazement he mentioned me as being instrumental to his turning to God.
You don’t always know when someone is paying attention to what you say and how you act. I pray that there are more people who come to know the Lord through our daily activities at work.
Building His Kingdom is for Everyone
Winston Churchill in a speech he gave in December 1941, said this:
There is no room for the dilettante, the weakling, for the shirker, or the sluggard. The mine, the factory, the dockyard, the salt sea waves, the fields to till, the home, the hospital, the chair of the scientist, the pulpit of the preacher – from the highest to the humblest tasks, all are of equal honour; all have their part to play.
I believe that God would say the same about every Christian and their activities in the workplace. It doesn't matter who you are, the title you have, the grade, and size of pay packet: your attitude at work is vital to you being fruitful.
As Christians God has appointed us, just as he did Joseph and Daniel, to bless the people where we work. Irrespective of what they say about us or treat us, our role is to build His kingdom. However, building a kingdom is hard to do by yourself - we won't have all the skills or energy necessary. Part of the solution is to find other Christians where we work, so that together we can build His kingdom. That’s why Transform Work UK exists. Get in touch with us and let us help you to make a difference where you work, so that you can know true fulfilment.