Blog - Embodying Truth

Seed: Planted at Work on Purpose

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Do you work where you do by happenstance? Googling on "I just happened to get a job” turned up dozens of hits. But for Christ-followers, a biblical identity word helps us see our positioning as far more than mere chance.

The word? Seed. Jesus used it when telling and explaining one of his Kingdom-of-Heaven parables. He identified the children of that Kingdom as good seed (Matt. 13:38). Unlike dandelion seed, these did not just get blown in willy-nilly by the wind. Instead, the Son of Man, Jesus, scattered the seed into those patches of soil he selected. Take a moment and think of yourself as a seed Jesus has planted in your workplace.

Anyone who plants seed is looking for more than exercise in outdoor air. The parable makes it clear that Jesus expects a harvest from the seed. At the end of this age, the children of the kingdom, the good seed, will have produced wheat that he will gather into his barn. Part of this wheat, I’m convinced, will be the mature fruit of the Spirit. This is character produced through overcoming the challenges of being a believer in the work world. In his book, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, Eugene Peterson writes: "I’m prepared to contend that the primary location for spiritual formation is the workplace.”

Many of the challenges involved in that spiritual formation process come from working shoulder-to-shoulder with people who share neither your faith nor your standards of conduct. In Jesus’ parable, weed seeds get sown right in among the good seeds. And when the seedlings shoot up, the weeds and the wheat stalks are standing side-by-side.

Some Christians have tried to escape the so-called "secular” work world out of fear of being contaminated by what Jesus calls "the sons of the evil one.” But that runs counter to Jesus’ strategy. In the parable his well-meaning servants want to separate the weeds from the wheat. But Jesus orders otherwise: "Let them both grow together.”

His parable also explodes the whole idea of a division between so-called "sacred” and "secular” work. Jesus plants the seed in "his field.” His means the field belongs to him. Later he explains that his field is "the world.” In other words, this world—including the work world—belongs to Jesus. Wherever one of his seeds lands, he is the rightful owner of that spot. Not one of his seeds alights in a "secular” location. It is made sacred by the One who holds the title deed to it. As Abraham Kuyper put it, "There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”

"Bloom where you are planted.” That overused sentence is still good advice for you as a seed, a child of God’s Kingdom, that Jesus has strategically rooted in the work world.

Comments (1)

ron steslow (9/5/2014 5:36:32 AM)
Hi Larry, Im really taking to heart the quote by Peterson on spiritual formation in the workplace. Church services seem woefully inadequate for development of the whole person. Thanks for the inspiring writing.

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