Blog - Grasping Vocation

Turning Work into Ministry: Part 2--Communing

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

God’s "to do” list for us, seen in Genesis 1 and 2, includes communing with him, building community, and stewarding the earth. This series of blogs explores how we can carry these out in our daily work. For Part 1, click here.

How can you commune with God in a workplace full of people who don’t—and who may even oppose it?  Is communing with God a good work best done in a "house of worship” where we enjoy the backing of everyone around us? 

Actually, the body of each Christ-follower is a "house of worship,” or in Paul’s terms a "temple” (I Cor. 6:19).  So when a believer’s body goes to work, a house of worship enters the workplace.  What goes on inside that temple does not depend on what others may or may not be doing in the surrounding space. In a temple, God-attentiveness is always appropriate: worship, dialog, sacrifices, praises, thanksgivings, petitions, and so on.  That’s why Paul taught believing slaves to do their work as service to and for the Lord. In doing so, those slaves communed with God.

Even in the Old Testament believers communed with God as they worked.  Abraham sent his  top-ranking employee on a road trip to find a wife for Isaac. Distrusting his own discernment, the man presented his work-related challenge to God: "O Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today . . . . May it be that when I say to a girl, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac.”  After God responded to his on-the-job need, the man worshiped (Genesis 24).

One day as Nehemiah was serving wine to his boss, the king noticed that he looked depressed. What’s wrong? the king wanted to know.  Nehemiah told about the ruins of his hometown, Jerusalem.  What do you want? the king continued. Before asking this earthly, pagan king for an extended leave of absence, Nehemiah shot up an arrow prayer (for favor?) right there in his  workplace: "Then I prayed to the God of heaven” (Nehemiah 2:4).

When King Belshazzar asked him the meaning of the words written on the wall by fingers of a human hand, that palace became a workplace for Daniel. Interpreting those strange words required Daniel to listen to God—another important element of communing with him.

Fast-forward 2500 years. George Washington Carver communed with God over his work to discover uses for the peanut.  He said, "I just took a handful of peanuts and looked at them. ‘Great Creator,’ I said, ‘why did you make the peanut? Why?’ The Great Creator taught me to take the peanut apart and put it together again.” Carver called his lab, "God’s little workshop.”  (click here for video from Worldview Matters)

Our prayers in the workplace (like Nehemiah’s plea undoubtedly was) will very often be offered silently. Sometimes we will have the opportunity to pray with Christian brothers or sisters where we and they work. Jesus promises to meet with just two or three who get together in his name (Matt. 18:20)—even if they do so in the workplace. In the course of our work, we believers encounter all kinds of personal and spiritual challenges. These create the need for direction, discernment, thanksgiving, protection, confession, listening, and much more.

If you’re a believer, your spirit and the Spirit of God both live in the temple of your body. And within that setting, you can commune continually—even when your "house of worship” is hard at work. 

(Next time: another side of communion with God in the workplace.)

Comments (1)

Loretta (1/30/2013 3:27:10 PM)
Communion with God in the workplace examples are practical and makes good sense in todays workplace. Thanks for sharing.

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