Blog - Grasping Vocation
ON BEING AN "ORCHARD" WORKERSaturday, October 26, 2013
Why has God sent you into your workplace? Could one of his reasons be that he wants to bless your coworkers and your surroundings? Has God put you there so that they may receive his benefits? Is that a bit of a stretch? Consider the case of a workplace in Bible times.
It was hardly a holy place to work. The name of the thoroughly pagan owner meant he was dedicated to the sun-god. His wife was a lustful liar. By contrast, the worker was an Israelite believer named Joseph. After his owner, Potiphar, put Joseph in charge, things improved. This household worker succeeded in whatever he did.
Genesis 39:5 describes it: "From the time he [Potiphar] put him [Joseph] in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field.”
In other words, God showered his generous goodness on the workplace belonging to this unbeliever—on his possessions, on his household, and even on his farmland. Notice that the blessing came because of Joseph. Joseph was the reason for the blessing.
What explains the blessing of God in this workplace? Verse 3 gives the clue: Potiphar noticed that "The Lord was with” Joseph. Because Joseph worked in that place, God was there. And God’s presence, in and of itself, is a blessing. For example, when David parked the ark of the testimony—the focal point of God’s presence—in the home of Obed-Edom, "the Lord blessed him and his entire household” (II Sam. 6:11).
God made clear his desire to bless the world in his dealings with Abraham, promising that all peoples on earth would be blessed through him (Gen. 12:3; 18:18). And the blessing on everyone would continue to flow through Abraham’s offspring (Gen. 26:4). Joseph was one of Abraham’s offspring, a "carrier” of the promised blessing—which, of course, reached its fullness in Jesus.
As a Christian believer, you are one of Abraham’s offspring (Gal. 3:7-8) and so a carrier of God’s blessing for the world. Because Jesus died, rose, ascended, and sent the Holy Spirit, the astounding truth is that Christ is in you (Rom. 8:10; Col. 1:27). When you go to work, the presence of the living God goes there too. And where his presence is, blessing follows.
So one of God’s purposes in putting you in your workplace is to bless the people and things he created and cares for. That blessing may come in an unlimited variety of ways. Because God is Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, and Completer, he can bless the people and things in your workplace in any or all of those arenas.
In a sense, God intends for you to be an "orchard” there on your job. As you do your work and relate to people in faith, hope, and love, you are to bear the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit. Through you, coworkers, customers, clients, students, patients, vendors, and others should have access to taste-samples of "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). Where else can they find fruit of that quality?
As one working full-time for the Lord, you will be "like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season” (Ps. 1:3).